Back in the day, when I was in college the first time, I used to be able to work two part time jobs while I was studying. This was partly due to the major that I had chosen. See, even though I loved school, I didn’t really care about going to college. My mother was on my case about it and so I chose the easiest school to get in and the least difficult (for me at least) major. Playing instruments, singing, studying theory, practicing. These were all things that I had been doing since I was 3 years old. Some things (practicing for one) I did grudgingly. My mother had to set the oven timer to thirty minutes in order to keep me seated at the piano for at least that long. This would change in college where, when I was supposed to be practicing my singing, I would sit in the practice room for hours upon hours playing the piano. I guess it was a case of me wanting to do what I wanted to do. Per usual. Just like everything else in my life, if someone said I had to do something, I would choose to do something else. Music was not immune to this attitude.
Something I have come to find out in the past month is that no matter what, music is a saving grace for me. If I feel tired or sad or mad or agitated, I can sit at the piano, play a tune and feel better. It is really the best therapy. I inherited a piano from my maternal grandmother (Nana) that has brought many things to my abode. If I want to have a good cry, all I have to do is sit down at the piano and play “Blue Butterflies” and the waterworks start. I have been able to cry a little less with each rendition, but it still provides a release. I can think about how much I miss my Nana and Papa and the music gives me the push to let it go. After a good cry I like to sing a few tunes, usually of the operatic version, and this perks me up again. The piano also brings with it many memories of lessons (mine and other students) and holidays when the family would want me to play. Of days when I would visit and give in to or deny the request to play. It helps me to remember good times, but also times when I could have been quite a bit nicer. What is one song, really, in the grand scheme of things. Now I wish that I could play one more song on this piano, in the old house. And so it goes.
Music is like a drug. It can be an upper, downer, or maintainer. In college, it served as an escape. Forced rehearsals turned into wonderful occasions when the chorus sounded just right. When everyone was in tune and sounding glorious, it could truly lift ones mood. The addition of massive amounts of caffeine probably also had a lot to do with the up mood, but I am going to give music all the credit. Being in a show or chorus or band is an experience that everyone should be able to partake in at some point in their lives. It is cheaper than therapy and gives one the same outlet. In fact, it is sometimes even better, when you get to play out a “character” that is close to your own personality. Working out your issues on the stage is the ultimate in self absorption and whom but the self absorbed needs therapy? Try it, you will not be disappointed.