Monday, August 1, 2011

All roads lead to Rome...

I thought I should probably link to a thread on PianoWorld that I started about some of the issues I've been having as I return to piano, rather than recap everything here.

I've started playing again, but with breaks as the piano-related emotional overload I talked about there has come and gone. I've been pretty successful at working through the biter emotional residue lingering around the piano courtesy of the mean, bitter old lady who was my childhood piano teacher, and her ghost no longer haunts me. What haunted me instead was a memory which arose in response to another PW thread: the ghost of my mother's sarcastic commentary, shouted from the other room as I dutifully plodded through my dismal method book tunes

Again, I'll spare you the gory details, but let it suffice to say that my mother and I suffered a catastrophic failure of mother-child bonding (she suffered no such issue with my younger brother, making for a painful contrast throughout our childhood). She bought our piano and instigated my lessons, which turned them into yet another opportunity for me to try desperately (but invariably fail) to win her approval. As I said on PW, Iooking back I interpret our (visually attractive but virtually untunable) piano and my subsequent lessons as an expression of her new money class anxiety -- in reality, she never showed any interest in music, and turned out to loathe the sound of my practicing. Thus the constant sarcastic commentary on my grim practice efforts.

So this whole "Mom-thing" that I'd been working though in therapy turns out to have metastasized deeply into my relationship to the piano. But this has enabled me to use my "mental piano junk" as a pathway into some deeper issues which had been too distressing to access directly, so maybe all roads do lead to Rome. Or Mom. Or at least something productive, if one can be mindful of the luggage one has been lugging along.

Therefore the sage, travelling all day,
Does not lose sight of his baggage.