AND NOW, WITH TWO HANDS – Marilyn Armstrong

Ragtime Daily Prompt #66 – ABIDE (WITH ME)

“And now,” said Mrs. Nelson, “You can try it with both hands.”

This was huge. Before now, I could only play one note at a time, one hand at a time. I was four and a half. Almost five, I would point out.

Today, I was going to play “Abide With Me” with two hand using chords (okay, only two notes in each, but still chords). A power performance!

I was definitely going to be a great pianist. I couldn’t reach the pedals yet. I was much too small, but eventually, I’d get there.

Thus I advanced my musical career which, in the end, didn’t amount to much. I enjoyed it, though. I tried majoring in it in college, but piano wasn’t the right instrument for me. I needed something more compact, with fewer long reaches. I was tiny with very small hands (but big feet, go figure). Making those long reaches in complicated pieces was impossible for me.

By the time we were moving past the easier Nocturnes and into the longer Beethoven sonatas, it was obvious to me it wasn’t lack of practice. I practiced a lot. Every day, for hours.

I was simply ill-equipped to get it done on a piano.

Piano became a hobby and writing became my profession and I’m not at all sorry it worked out that way. I can’t even imagine myself performing with an orchestra or alone on the big stage.

I’ve also got an insane degree of stage-fright where music is concerned, though I can speak in public. There’s no accounting for irrational fear, is there?

Categories: Childhood, Daily Prompt, humor, Music

Tags: , , , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. As a teenager I finally was allowed to learn to play the violin. I did relatively well but I always knew that I’d forever be a ‘me too’ player. I’m not cut out to be a soloist…. Then, at nearly 50, I uttered the wish to my Hero Husband that I’d always wanted to play the cello but that this wasn’t possible financially-wise. He said: You really want to learn to play the cello? We shall buy one – and we did…. I LOVE it although I nevr ever play enough and I don’t like to practice. But of course, once you’ve mastered reading the notes and extras, and having played the recorders for nearly forever, you have a base to work with. I also preferred to sing, again, not as a soloist but was happy in a ‘crowd’ of other singers. I still prefer to sing than to play if I should have to choose.
    I’d also absolutely advise anybody who has never even started to play an instrument to do it NOW….. where there is a true wish to play, there is a way to do it. Go for it, you all with a yearning for playing!


    • I can’t play the piano anymore. My hands are so arthritic, the pain is really bad. And I waited too long for the surgery to fix it, but I had a heart that needed fixing and I did that first. Oh well. I have a little uke and I can play it a little bit, but I don’t feel all that deprived. At my best — 50 years ago! — I played pretty well. I got a lot of years of playing, so if I can’t now, it’s not a catastrophe.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Even though there was a point in my musical life that I actually earned an income from it. But it slowly became apparent to me that I was never going to be the musician I wanted to be. There were always better players out there, and while I enjoyed a modicum of success, I felt I was taking up the space of those more deserving. However, I LOVE music and was determined to have something to do with it. I switched gears and chose recording engineering, enabling me to experience the efforts of musicians far more talented than I. I can’t say that I miss actually playing, but there is something about producing music that can’t be explained. It’s a feeling that defies defining.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love music, but to me, too, it became obvious that I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t bad, but “not bad” is SO far from good enough to be a professional musician, it’s almost funny. I did what I always was meant to do, which was write. The music was fun, but it wasn’t a way to make a living. Maybe on a different instrument.


  3. I still have not got the knack of the left hand having different timing than the right on keyboards, although I can tap out several different beats with hands and feet at the same time, usually while doing a hand prayerwheel in one hand. That isn’t on stage though, but next to the drum circle downtown. I probably have stagefright about singing solos, but not so much about speaking or singing backing vocals.


  4. Marilyn, I find a lot of music was written by people/men with huge hands. I’ve started doing some arranging and it’s a lot of fun. I’m arranging it for me and my hand span.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love music, learning to play an instrument would have been such a boon to me!


    • You can always learn. I know senior citizens who’ve learned piano and flute and guitar. You just have to really want to … and find someone willing to teach you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I won highest achievement award for a music test. Two girls beat me (grade 4) because they’d had lessons and knew the 2 answers I did not as a result. They seriously wanted me in band a flue (which could keep up with my brain they suggested) I would have loved to. Both my kids have an ear for music and play so well…one a trumpet, the other a sax. How I wished! Perhaps one day, I’ll get the opportunity.


        • You can learn. Try the recorder. You can buy a good one for very short money and most people learn to play them alone, maybe with a book. It’s easier than the flute. My first husband taught himself and got pretty good at it. It’s not hard. You just have to want to do it and make the time.


      • “Play Misty For Me”…..


Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

France & Vincent

Writing Magic, Myth and Mystery

Barb Taub

Writing & Coffee. Especially coffee.

This, That, and The Other

Random musings on life, society, and politics.

Keep it alive

A look at life, achieving good physical and mental health and happiness

Covert Novelist

Just another WordPress site

The Small Dog

Life from the Tail End

Cee's Chronic Illness Sisterhood

Peer support and hope for women with Chronic Illness and their support team.

Salted Caramel

Blogging, Motivation, Lifestyle and much more.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Echoes of Life, Love and Laughter

Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

Making My Home A Haven is important to me. Sharing homemaking skills. Recipes and food. Bible Studies. This is a treasure chest of goodies. So take a seat. Have a glass of tea and enjoy. You will learn all about who I am.

Green Screen

The Environmental Movie Podcast

bushboys world

Photos of my world and other stuff I hope you will enjoy too. Photos taken with Canon PowershotSX70HS Photos can be purchased.


Independent views from someone who offers some historical context


I use the best, I use the rest

My Blog

Just another site

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Trent's World (the Blog)

Random Ramblings and Reviews from Trent P. McDonald

Views from the Edge

To See More Clearly

serial monography: forgottenman's ruminations

wandering discourse, pedantic rant, self-indulgent drivel, languorous polemic, grammarian's bête noire, poesy encroachment approaching bombast, unintended subtext in otherwise intentional context, unorthodox unorthodoxy, self-inflected rodomontade, …

draliman on life

Because sometimes life just makes you stop and think

The English Professor at Large

Posts about old Hollywood, current concerns



The Day After

Musings, Photography, Writing, and More



Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

Welcome to the Anglo Swiss World


Your Source For The Coolest Science Stories

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: