Thursday, January 10, 2013

Feeling my way through life and music

About the only thing that impacts me more emotionally than books is music. When you hear a song you love for the first time it can be a transformative experience.

I played piano for 13 years, and while I did not have a natural talent for playing (small hands and short fingers) I had a passion for it. The emotion those 88 keys could evoke in me when I sat down and played a Chopin Nocturne or a Beethoven Sonata was better than any therapy.

And while I don't play piano with any sort of regularity anymore, music still rewards me with transformative experiences. And you know when you're having them because the little hairs start raising on your arms from the goosebumps.

One such experience happened to me over Christmas break. My husband and I have a friend, Tiffany, whom we've both known since before we knew each other. Her older sister Wendy introduced us actually. We all (the sisters and I, that is) had the same music teacher growing up. After high school, Tiffany studied musical theater at the Boston Conservatory and now has her eyes set on Broadway.

While she was home over Christmas break, she performed some of her own songs at a local coffeehouse and while her entire set was flawless, one particular song she performed gave me those goosebumps I was talking about. So much so that midway through the song, I found myself a fountain of tears.

As I sat listening, I was initially taken by the beautiful yet mournful gypsy melody. But then I found the words rather curious. I wondered who she was referring to when she sang, "Those eyes are watching you, those eyes are watching me." And then for some reason, those lyrics put me in mind of The Great Gatsby and the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg. I have no idea why. John Green's influence most likely. But then the song changed course and around 1:35 I realized this song had a deeper meaning and I didn't know what it was. I had an idea, but at the same time, I didn't need to know. I was leading with my emotions and I just wanted to feel my way through the song. So I sat there and just let it wash over me. Even then I knew that while it might be a small moment in my life, it is one I would not soon forget.

What small, seemingly insignificant moments have been transformative in your life?

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