Outside of my family, music has almost always been my first love. I sang in my crib. When I was a toddler my mother’s singing and whistling frustrated me because she’d change keys in the middle of a song. At about the same time I heard my sister practicing for her piano lessons and couldn’t wait to learn how to play myself so I could get the rhythm right.
I fell in love with my parents’ classical records—Beethoven, Mozart, St. Seans, Rimsky-Korsakov and others and tried to play them. At age 7, after two or three years of pleading with my parents, they found me a piano teacher. She’d play a new piece for me, then I’d take the music home and work on it for a week; but for the year I studied with her, I only played from memory. Nobody knew I couldn’t read music. When I became a piano teacher myself, I made sure every student was really reading the music.
I didn’t like my first teacher so my parents got me a new one. She opened a book and said, “Play this,” at our first meeting. I couldn’t. That’s when my parents found out I had been memorizing the pieces and playing them by ear.
I learned about the unconscious mind from music. When I worked on a difficult passage, then couldn’t practice for a week, when I came back to the piano I could play it faster and better. I realized my brain had been working on it behind my back. That experience led to noticing when my unconscious was at work in other ways, too. To this day, I place great importance in my dreams. I believe they send me helpful messages from my unconscious.
In Joanne Lipman’s NYTimes Sunday Review article of 10-12-13, Is Music the Key to Success? she says: “Multiple studies link music study to academic achievement. Many high achievers told me music opened up the pathways to creative thinking. And their experiences suggest that music training sharpens other qualities: Collaboration. The ability to listen. A way of thinking that weaves together disparate ideas. The power to focus on the present and the future simultaneously… Many visionaries apply music’s lessons of focus and discipline into new ways of thinking and communicating—even problem solving.”
In addition to music most important gift, the gift of being exposed to transcendent feelings, music helps me with writing and drawing. Principals such as the importance of clarity and simplicity, enhance all of these skills.
Read my 4-part blog, “Young People Talk About the Enneagram and Death."
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