I don’t have many regrets. In fact, I’m one of those who often likes to say that living with regrets is a waste. Because it’s not as if you can go back and change something that’s already happened.
But I’ve come to realize that I do have some regrets. One, for certain.
I wish I’d stuck with my piano lessons as a kid.
In the early ’90s, I took piano lessons from one Mrs. Nash in an upstairs room above the Melody Haven music store in downtown Roanoke. These lessons went on for about two years. During that second year, lessons moved from the music store to Mrs. Nash’s home. Looking back, I’m not sure why.
Fun side note: I later went to college with Mrs. Nash’s granddaughter.
Why did I only take lessons for two years? Because I was stupid. Well… maybe that’s not a fair assessment. Looking back, I think I was being stupid. And the stupidity kicks in because I was not practicing every day. And because I was not practicing every day, my parents warned me that they would not continue paying for lessons if I was not committed to practicing every day.
You know what? Good for Mom and Dad for following through on the consequence for my lack of practice time.
It’s not like I had a good excuse to not practice. We owned an old upright piano. I mean, the thing wasn’t exactly in the best shape and I have no doubt it was constantly out of tune. I’m pretty sure it had a couple of dead keys near the upper end. But it was there.
It’s not like I didn’t have the time to practice. Outside of school, I wasn’t involved in anything. I played no rec league sports, so my afternoons were mine to enjoy once I completed my homework. You know what should have been part of my homework? Half an hour at the piano, that’s what.
At the moment, I’m 39 years old. I’ll be 40 in about six weeks. And I so badly wish I knew how to play the piano. I’d love to be able to spot a piano, sit down, and just play something random. But the most I can do is a little “Heart & Soul” or “Chopsticks” and I only know those from watching Big. And people really don’t like it when I start jumping up and down on their pianos.
There are some things I can pick out by ear, but it’s always only a melody. I can pick out the theme songs from Beverly Hills Cop and Halloween. As long as it’s only one note at a time. But how great would it be if I could just hear a song on the radio and be able to play it without sheet music?
I know that’s not necessarily how learning to play the piano works. (It’s not, right?) But I’d still love to learn. So when the thought crossed my mind yesterday, I posed the question on Facebook: At 39, pushing 40, am I too old to learn to play the piano? I was surprised by how many responses I got throughout the day. And everyone was overwhelmingly supportive, saying it’s never too late to learn.
That was really encouraging. What’s to stop me?
Well… I don’t have a piano. I don’t have a keyboard. But I’m sure I could get a decent keyboard that wouldn’t set me back by too much, right? Next I would have to decide how to learn to play this instrument. Do I necessarily need to pay for lessons? Can I teach myself from a book? or from YouTube instructional videos? If I’m committed to practicing every day, do I need to have a real live teacher that I meet with once a week?
These are questions I’m actually asking. Anyone out there who has the answers, I’m all ears. Thanks, guys! Wish me luck as I embark on this crazy attempt at self-improvement!