Thursday, August 14, 2008

Watch your backside, Amadeus!

Several months ago, I came across an advertisement in the paper here that was placed by one of the local music stores. It was titled "Adult Piano Lessons" and the store offered group lessons to adults who have never played before. Well, I had played before....although it was "Chopsticks" and I'm fairly certain that it doesn't qualify. So, with a bit of hesitation, I signed up.

Recently hitting the age-group that, coincidentally, also mirrors Travis Hafner's number, I've been dancing between those areas known as "this is the way I've always done it and it feels just fine" and "why don't you put down your AARP card and try something new". I'm a huge fan of "comfort zones". And from a psychological perspective, that worries me. I sit in the same chair every evening. I utilize the same pint glasses for whatever libation is enjoyed while sitting in that same chair. And on and on it goes. Oh, I break the routine occasionally. I sometimes go out on the deck and sit in the same chair. But, for the most part, I find myself becoming a creature of habit more and more as the years go by. Is that a bad thing?

So, I thought to myself, "Self, if you start wearing hush puppies and lining up at the Golden Corral buffet at 4:30 p.m. for dinner, then you DO have some issues." Panic set in. So I set out to Lacefield Music.

I've strummed a few chords on the guitar before, and I've always felt somewhat "musically inclined". (Plus, I've nuked the competition in every air-guitar war I've ever been in!) But, I was still a bit jittery when I first walked in. There was me...and a few others within my age-bracket...and a few who looked like they just arrived from the Golden Corral buffet line. However, we were all in the same boat, and that felt good. Andy and Matt, our young, talented instructors reminded us that we're not here in order to eventually apply to Julliard or to be able to play Carnegie Hall...but simply to learn enough to be able to play some songs. (Hell, I'd just like to play "When the Saints Go Marching In"...or that cool piano part in "Layla"...whichever comes first.)

So, between learning how to roll some chords, reading a few notes, and finding out what those darned foot-pedals are for, (I thought they were just decor) Mr. Comfort-Zone has actually "graduated" (yes, we actually had certificates, caps, and gowns) from a 6-week Level 1 and Level 2 class and is getting ready to matriculate to Level 3! I've already had my first concerto program printed, so I thought I'd share the evening's selections:

* "When The Saints Go Marching In" (of course...)
* "Love Me Tender" (if I can do that damned G7 chord!)
* "Danny Boy (wouldn't you know it...a C7 shows up at the end!)
* "Theme from Chariots of Fire" (well, it kinda sounds like it....)
* "Etude in E Flat Minor, Opus 90" (ok, I made that up, but if you just play a C, G, or F with the left hand, and then accompany those with the right hand striking any white key, you can come up with some interesting little discoveries!)

So, as I sit in my favorite chair with my favorite Great Lakes Brewing Company pint-glass (filled with Eliot Ness Vienna-Style Lager, of course) I do feel a sense of accomplishment that I managed to escape the tranquility of the mundane to experience something new, and come out on the other side relatively unscathed. Now, if I could just get the folks at Lacefield to ease up on trying to sell me that $3000.00 Roland digital piano.

Oh, look...they're offering motorcycle riding lessons next month!


* Why not grab your favorite beverage, cop a squat, and groove to some DEMOS at

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