The large room was already buzzing with voices talking in hushed tones by the time we got there.
Our friend, colleague and teacher had left us...5 years in the making due to bone cancer. We were there to celebrate, honor and grieve the loss of our dear one and remind ourselves of how much he planted in all of our lives; vowing to continue those lessons and share them with our own students.
But there was a tension present that was apart from the "normal" sadness felt at a funeral. That ever reminding feeling that it just isn't "OK" to go ahead and cry...let it out...feel the pain. Everyone was trying to be so brave...but to what end?
How our culture longs to reinforce the concept that life is to be happy always and any pain we feel must be short lived, hidden away, and forgotten. So while the feelings were all there, they were caught up in this net of "regulations" of how we are "supposed" to feel and react to losing someone that we love. They were trapped!
But then came the music. The shift in energy was more than palpable. The hush of words came suddenly and the remaining silence was filled with heart expressions of tears, sighs, and finally...honesty. The energy began to flow in gentle circles moving between all of us; releasing us from having to explain or justify anything.
The music gave us the space to express what our words couldn't and what our culture didn't want us to.
That is what music does. It releases...it engages us with ourselves and one another in a space that is protected, safe, and supporting.
This is why we practice. This is why we strive to be better. Playing the piano is so much bigger than us individually. Sometimes we lose sight of the incredible power of healing we have in our fingertips.
When we experience this for the first time, we come to realize in our own hearts why we spend hours playing scales and exercises and learning new pieces. There is a reason...and a purpose.
You may be at a place in your playing where only you have experienced that beautiful transfer to playing from and in the heart realm...but if you've ever played your piano around other people, don't be surprised to find one of them in that space with you. It's just what music does. :)
Practice with passion and practice with purpose. Your music does more than you think it does.
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