Well do I remember my days and years of piano lessons. Of arching fingers and the rising crescendo of sound in my baby grand, from the softest touch to the heartiest strike on the keys.

I still have some of the books from way back when I was a child, including all the markings on the books. My piano teacher had her own “system” of indicating exactly how I was to lift my fingers and hands from the keys to get just the right sound.

I had — still have — such small hands. It made playing “big” piano pieces difficult. Impossible, sometimes. I love big music, but mostly, I played a lot of Chopin, Mozart, Bach, and eventually Scott Joplin …

… because that was the music that best suited my abilities. Now that I can’t play, I listen. Hours of Beethoven, symphonies, concertos. Grieg. Mahler. All the grand music.

During the long years when I was playing, I almost forgot how much fun it is to simply listen. I do miss playing … but listening is good for my soul, even if I don’t make the music myself.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.


          1. It wasn’t a golden age except for music. The rest of life really sucked the big wet one. That’s WHY music was so important. It’s also why reading and writing and art were so important. If the rest of your life is really ugly, what good there is in it matters more. Take a look at any of our comedians and you’ll see someone who has spent a lifetime fighting depression.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. How’s that for coincidence. I also have a book of Scott Joplin. There were many easy play versions of his music, but I had the original. I don’t exactly play like Scott Joplin, but I usually wear the earphones when I play so that only I can hear my efforts. Also have a Tom Waits book and my all time favourite, Paolo Conte who I actually saw once at a concert in Bern. Yes there are still some great pianists around. I was one of the lucky ones with the hands as I had a span of two notes over the octave, although that doesn’t mean I was a great pianist. I just had fun.


    1. I played pretty well, but I didn’t play well enough to be any kind of professional. My teachers somehow believed I was going to get better, but I never did. It wasn’t for lack of practice. I might have been better on a smaller instrument … maybe a flute or something like that. But I enjoyed the piano immensely, and I was a pretty good amateur. It was fun. I wish I could play now, but the hands won’t do it. I finally sold the piano earlier this year. It was just getting old. It needed playing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You just prompted me to listen to some of the old masters on youtube. My dad was a great lover of Fats Waller and I inherited that from him. Fats Waller was a real master and left legacy of great music.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Garry loves that era of jazz. I tend to love folk stuff because I used to sing it (yes, I had a guitar, didn’t everyone?) and it has a lot of memories. But when I listen, it is almost always classical music. That’s funny because I didn’t listen to classical stuff at all for a long time and drifted back to it a few years ago.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I introduced myself to the greats. I can’t get enough of Beethoven and Bach, they are two of my favourites. I have noticed that interestingly enough, listening to the greats can and (for me) does decrease pain. Interesting isn’t it? I can listen to hours of music, and I love all music, except (c)rap which hurts my ears and heavy metal is too much these days, but the greats, I never tire of them. Always wished I could have learned the piano.


    1. I learned the piano pretty well, but the arthritis in my hands which is an almost inevitable result of studying years of piano as a kid, made it impossible to play anymore. At least to play without way more pain that I can handle. It’s funny because I knew all the old pianists had terrible arthritis in their hands. I figured it would come to me, too.

      It did.


      1. I’m sorry, Marilyn. It must be a great loss since listening is wonderful and heart pounding, playing must be exquisite! I have very long fingers and could have played, but had no money. Such is life. I won a contest over 500 students I got 3rd top highest mark beaten out by 2 students who had lessons for years. They told me the only instrument my hands could keep up with my brain was a flute or I’d get impatient. I never did learn, my mother said no. End of story. Still I love music, so much!!!!


        1. Playing was a much bigger deal to me when I was younger and I really COULD do it. Sometimes, you just have to let stuff go. My hands really won’t do it anymore. And the “big music” I love is mostly orchestral — I could never play it anyhow. I do have fun when we watch movies and I hear pieces (almost always Chopin) and I point out “I used to play that!”


      1. That’s WEIRD! I just tried following the same link and was sent to wordpress’s edit page ( not MY edit page – a WP one?)

        Chalk another one up to WP’s wonderful world huh?



  3. Listening is good for the soul. Science has shown that listening to some (mainly classical, Mozart especially) music is good for our brain functioning also!

    The rhythms and tempos somehow seem to align and co-ordinate the way our neurons fire and connect with compatible areas within the brain to our benefit in many ways – they can integrate the front and rear areas of our cortex, the vertical structures of the cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem, and our left and right hemispheres of the outer cortex. This can ease both pain in our body and the unwanted tremors of Parkinson’s disease!, as well as improving our concentration, relaxation and thinking abilities.

    It also hath charms to soothe the savage breast! 😉



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