Back to Basics

7 Mar

This past weekend, I took my family to see Ethan Bortnick, a young musical prodigy who, at the tender age of 9, is in the middle of an 18-city concert tour. Young Ethan was very entertaining, a delight to watch. Even my boys, who thought they would be bored, loved the concert.

Prior to the concert, I read chapter one in Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World

: “Discovering a Sense of Origin.” While listening to Master Bortnick play a familiar waltz by one of my favorite composers, Chopin, something I read in Julia’s book resonated loud and clear with me. I love to play piano and used to play all the time. Now I feel like there’s no time, and when I do sit down to play, I usually give up because I don’t play as well as I used to.  However, as Julia writes, “…making art is a little like dieting. One day you just have to start and what you do that day is the beginning of success or failure. I cannot write an entire book today, but I can write one page. I cannot become an accomplished pianist, but I can put in fifteen minutes of piano time.”

I have found myself procrastinating, perhaps afraid of failure, not only with piano but with writing and, yes, dieting as well. So I went home, sat down, and plunked out Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 72 without worrying about hitting the wrong notes. And I had the best time, mistakes and all. I no longer will wait until “the right time” to play.

Something from the concert must have inspired my youngest son, who suddenly wanted me to teach him piano. So tonight, I sat down with him for an hour at the keys and will continue each week to give him lessons.

And will take the time afterward to play a few notes myself.

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5 Responses to “Back to Basics”

  1. followingthemuse March 7, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    Thanks for the push to spend fifteen minutes of doing rather than fifteen minutes of wishing. I have been moved to act.

    • pursuingthemuse March 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

      Welcome, followingthemuse. So glad you’ve joined the discussion (and I love your username)!

  2. charmingthemuse March 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Most days, even writing a page seems too ambitious for me. Maybe my goal should be to turn my computer on and at least stare at my manuscript for fifteen minutes.

    • ticklingthemuse March 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

      Why not? Actually, you might even get inspired that way!

    • pursuingthemuse March 9, 2011 at 12:19 am #

      Actually, I think that is a really good idea, Tracey. I challenge you to just sit there for 15 minutes and not write anything. I’ll bet you can’t do it 🙂

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