Why do we play piano? Surely it is easier to put on a CD, listen to a download or even go to a concert. Perhaps I am missing the point…
The Arts exist in part to shine a light on our existence, showing us how the world is and also to show us how it could or should be. We can live without the Arts, but would we really want to? Music has a very strong part to play in this. This only reinforces the go and listen argument and not why we play ourselves.
Everyone loves music of some kind. It is a powerful force which can transform the mind, our attitude and our emotions and all within seconds. There is spirituality, to a degree in music making, it feeds our emotions and the desire to play piano and other musical instruments fulfills a primal inner desire to communicate.
I feel strongly that other Arts do not possess the same strength of power that music has. We are compelled to play because we seek to have a closer connection to this force. Actual playing brings greater and deeper understanding of the force of music, giving us a fuller personal impact. The resulting effect on us as human beings must then lead to us having a greater understanding of ourselves and of our fellow beings that I feel is greater than in any other form of expression. Surely, it is easier to express something in music which would perhaps be uncomfortable to say in words.
For many, playing a musical instrument is a form of escape from the stresses and strains of the real world, relieving the tension of a difficult day. It could even be described as a kind of meditation, carrying us to a better place.
Many people get the ‘bug’ for playing at an early age. The natural curiosity of the child provides the initial motivation for getting started for some. Sustaining this initial enthusiasm can prove tricky for some. Learning piano is hard work, it is a complex instrument to play and only through regular practice can someone become proficient. Practice however is a subtle pleasure, there is a satisfaction which comes from the improvements made in the practice time. Pleasure is gained in working out difficulties, gaining new insights which comes from discovering new ways of doing things.
Musical instruments also provide the opportunity for lifelong learning, when we start off we cannot know how far the journey will take us. From my teaching it never ceases to amazing me that even into old age someone can still improve their skill at the piano. The sense of fulfillment is enormous on this personal journey but lets not forget that through our own performances we can bring pleasure to those around us.
From a personal perspective, when I came back to practicing following a gap, the physical act of playing linked to the sounds produced put very simply brought a smile to my face, which is very addictive.