On Creating Music

I’ve always been someone that needed to create. This is a trait I only had recognized in myself recently when someone pointed it out. More than just a need to create though, I’ve always been drawn to create music.

I remember begging my parents when I was 7 or 8 to let me get piano lessons. Someone had mentioned my long fingers, and how it would be great for piano playing and I was sold. Somewhere I picked up an Easy Liberace piano book and my Grandma, who never could deny me anything, bought me a small keyboard, which I set off to teach myself how to play Liberace’s Greatest Hits. My parents said no to the lessons, partly because of cost, partly because they knew my lack of discipline to practice.

In the 5th grade, I found myself in the school band learning how to play the clarinet. I don’t know if any child ever dreams of playing clarinet, I sure did not. This is how it happened. The music teacher came into my class and said any student who wanted to play an instrument in the school band could get out of class for 30 minutes once a week. YES. My Grandma bought me a beautiful brand new clarinet that I played for about 2 years before I got bored with it and it sat on my shelf collecting dust, till my poor brother was forced to take clarinet lessons so the clarinet would get some use.

In the 9th grade, I joined the church choir because an older boy I liked sang in it, and so I figured it would be a great idea for me to sing in it too. I fell in love with singing and forgot the boy altogether. In college, I sang for a band for the youth group and then in church groups and choirs up until the day I left my ex-husband. Then the music stopped.

It was still in me; I just couldn’t share it. I channeled my need to create into writing, hence the transformation of this blog. Writing gave me the outlet I needed and fulfilled somewhat the need to create. Where words were a safe way for me to outpour what was in my heart, music was too painful to release. Until a few weeks ago. I felt this overwhelming desire to pick up my guitar, something I haven’t done in years and years. I only know three chords so I can’t even say I know how to play, but as I strummed those three chords (and “strum” is a generous way of putting it), I longed to make music. I wished that I had stuck with guitar lessons way back when. With that, I vowed to find a way to take lessons. And, of course, life got in the way, as it usually does with work and life responsibilities taking over the yearnings of our heart. So, promptly, that idea was buried, but I found myself turning the radio up in the car, loudly and often, and singing at the top of my lungs, not a care in the world.

I just came back from a trip to Greece. A client, turned friend, who has a similar story of brokenness and recovery, commissioned me to be the on-set photographer for the short film/music video of her first single. She is a musician and like me, stopped creating for a while. A talented piano player, one day she sat down at the piano, after years of not being able to play, and the songs just poured out of her. One of the days on set, the scene was her just playing a white piano, getting lost in the music. And as I sat and listened to the music pour over my soul, my longing to create music rushed back. I longed to have the ability to have my fingers fly over the black and white keys and work together to make a melody. It was powerful and frustrating because I knew that though I had the desire and the courage, I lacked the ability.

Now that I am back home and work and life is threatening to overtake me yet again, I am toying with the idea of taking lessons, either piano or guitar, but in the meantime, I am back to writing for myself as an alternative to fulfill the need inside me that is begging me to create music. So, here I am, creating in the only way I can, with my fingers and with words. My blog, my outlet.

Until the time comes to make music.


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