I was at a doctors appointment the other day and struck up a conversation with a nurse I had never met. She was so nice and friendly and I was enjoying visiting with her.  She asked me what I did for a living, so I told her about my studio and lessons. Here’s the exchange we had:

Karen: Oh, that’s so wonderful — I studied piano for 12 years when I was young, but then I let it fall by the wayside and I don’t know how to pick it back up! The only thing I can think of is to start playing scales again.

Me: Oh please don’t do that!

Karen: (puzzled) What? (I think this is obviously an odd answer coming from a music teacher!)

Me: We play music and keep going back to it because it is what we love. Scales and exercises are for the young and the serious… not for someone who is ready to return to the piano after a very long break.

Karen: So what would you suggest?

Me:  I would tell you to go down to the music store and pick up some music that you love — anything — select a level of music that is just under where you feel like your skill level is, just so it doesn’t feel too difficult. And then play.  And play. And let it fill you with joy.

Karen: Really? Ok. I’ll have to do that.

Me: Please do.

That was pretty much the end of our conversation.  I did assure her that I thought scales were, indeed, very important for technical purposes, but just not right now for her. I  just wanted to encourage her to play — to feed her soul with the music she loves.  Then she can go from there.

As I was checking out at the front window, Karen came into the office area and up to the window. She had a big smile on her face and said, “Tonight I’m going home to learn a song!

Ahhh. Mission accomplished for the day… to share the joy of music with others.

How have you shared the joy recently?