I got a bit historical at the piano the other night. My roommate, who was baking muffins in the open kitchen just above me, got a glimpse into my very heart, soul and spiritual journey at that moment – if she cared to analyze.
Rather than rehearsing through my usual repertoire of folk and pop, performed predominately at nursing homes, I let memory and experiment have free expression. Using all 88 keys and liberal glissandos, I took my childhood musical memories on a tour into adulthood. I played Sunday school songs, folk songs and a smattering of top 40 – mostly things I had never tried to improvise before. What came out? Dormant feelings. Repressed pain and joy. Snippets and pieces, long forgotten and now ruminated on. Thankfully, my roommate loves piano and overlooks the imperfections – especially when we are both doing common ordinary utilitarian things like baking and practicing. She hummed along and danced about her work. We share the same birth year and a similar religious upbringing so most of the melodies were familiar to her. She did, however, pause for a chuckle when I came flourishing down from a rollicking “Do Lord” to a sultry “Imagine.”
No one. No one knows me so well as my piano. Every now and then my soul is laid bare and then healed – comforted. 30 minutes spent on a wooden bench addressing 88 keys yields more self-awareness than an hour with a therapist who knows me not except by the information on my intake sheet.