The first time we rented the (full-sized) keyboard, I bought some music for myself and a book of introductory lessons. The lessons weren’t very interesting to M, and I played a bit on my own, but felt the old pang of disinterest-with-a-touch-of-shame that I always had around pianos. We returned the keyboard several weeks later without issue.
I figured it would be more of the same this time we rented the keyboard. M was very keen to have it set up as soon as possible so he could try it out. He spent many hours that first full day learning, with my help as well as with the help of an app we purchased. His interest didn’t last much beyond that, but unexpectedly, my interest in playing was piqued. I pulled out the book of popular Beethoven pieces that I had bought the last time, and started experimenting. Over the next several days, I found myself drawn to playing, and noticed my feelings when I made mistakes and otherwise felt frustrated. I also was surprised to see how much I had learned during those years of lessons, despite how awful I had felt about myself while taking them. I also watched piano videos on YouTube, to help remind me of what good piano-playing sounds like, and pretty soon I was feeling much more at ease sitting at the keyboard.
It’s been over a month now, and I sometimes sit down to play, and sometimes leave it for several days. But my resentment and shame have gone down considerably, and I am able to focus much more on the enjoyment of playing. I have definitely gained a fresh perspective on what it means to make music.
This deschooling epiphany has begun to seep into other aspects of my life as well. I was re-watching an episode of Gilmore Girls with my husband recently that has a scene in a classroom at Yale University. For a moment I thought how wonderful it would be to be able to read so many great books and to be able to discuss all those impactful ideas. It then occurred to me that I had had that opportunity when I attended university, but at the time it felt more like something to just get through, especially given the quick due dates and constant evaluation. In hindsight, it was kind of a shame that I hadn’t taken more advantage of my time at university, but I also know that I had so many pressures and dysfunctional ideas about learning during that period (none of which were my fault, just circumstance), and so it really couldn’t have gone any other way. And it feels really good to be able to heal that part of my learning experience as well, which will also benefit my boys if they decide to pursue “higher education”. 😉
And for a bit of a break from all this learning seriousness, here is a link to a funny take on going to university:
I’m so glad university didn’t cost me $120,000!