Moonlight Sonata. It is a piece that I have played for many years. The sheet music has markings and reminders of all the accidentals and my commonly missed notes. It was my go-to piece to play where I could just sit at the piano for a while, concentrate enough to play the music, and enjoy being in the moment of the sounds of not thinking. It has been a valued life survival tactic to briefly escape my over-thinking brain and distract myself from the chaos.
The two floods in my home this summer have put a grinding halt to a few things around here. Except for one book that my daughter had in her backpack, all my music is gone. This is music that I have collected over the 30+ years of playing and singing, just gone. My grandmother’s hymnal, gone. My go-to escape route music, Moonlight Sonata, gone. Also, since pianos are made of wood and metal wire, the water was not a welcome visitor. It still works, but with the added creaks, screams, thuds, and dissonant echo when the pedal is used.
The first piece of replacement music I bought was Moonlight Sonata. I started to play it and quickly realized how much I relied on my markings and notes. It felt like I had forgotten how to play at all. This was not relaxing, this was disheartening. I fumbled my way through the song to the end. I walked away, frustrated. That was about 4 weeks ago. Today, I tried again. I realized that there were some parts that my hands just remembered to play correctly while simultaneously, my mind was fearful of hitting the wrong note. I finished the song after playing a thousand wrong notes with intermittent measures of perfect music, all while feeling various level of panic. I sat at the piano and stared at the music for a while. Should I write in new markings? Should I just re-learn the song as is? Will I ever be able to play anything with all the added racket and weird noises coming from the piano’s insides? Ugh.
Moonlight Sonata. I miss the softness from the worn, discolored pages. I miss the gently bent corners from the page turns. I miss the markings and reminders –they were like little love notes to myself from the past. I miss my escape route.
Change happens. Sometimes change makes life shitty. Sometimes change makes life beautiful. Stop thinking so hard and mark up the damn music. Play the piano. Move forward.