Sunday, August 9, 2009

Music and chores

I play the piano almost every day, usually just for fun. But a couple of weeks ago I bought an arrangement of Die Moldau by Smetana, a Czech composer. It's a long, beautiful piece that I love listening to, and I'm determined to learn to play it. My left hand isn't smooth yet on the fast runs of notes. There are awkward places where I need to work out the fingering. There are two or three pages I can't play at all yet. But it's slowly getting better, and even though it's work, it's fun.

I also recently started cello lessons again. My new teacher has assigned me some pretty hard stuff to help me overcome some technique errors I've fallen into. I'm practicing scales, bowing, and fingering, and trying to toughen up the skin on my fingers again. But I enjoy it despite the hard work.

So I was thinking the other day: Why is it so much more appealing to practice music than to clean the house or balance the checkbook? The repetitive motions of fingers and arms aren't fun in themselves. The fun comes from hearing the music -- sometimes beautiful, sometimes just the beginnings of what will someday be beautiful. All those bowstrokes and scales produce a result that makes the work worth it.

I've been trying to look at housework the same way. Dishes, laundry, and cleaning the toilet aren't my favorite things to do, but maybe they're like bowing exercises or piano scales. Maybe the repetitive household tasks will be less of a chore if I focus more on the result -- the harmony of a clean and organized home.

(Wow, that was deep. Maybe I should just sing more as I work:

If you chance to meet a germ, do not let it stay,
Quickly open up the bleach and scrub that germ away.
No one likes a messy place, here is what to do,
Send the children up in space and no more mess for you.

...Yes, yes, horrible mom thoughts. It's late.)


Harmony said...

LOL! Love the mom thoughts. I've had PLENTY of them myself this summer. :-)

Good for you for using and improving your musical talents.

Andrea M said...

I love that you are taking cello lessons. I decided to take those lessons too. I have always wanted to play a stringed instrument. Piano and trumpet were mastered ( mostly anyway) I thought that the cello would be the next thing to learn. All was going well with lessons and such until I broke my left 2 fingers, which made lessons and practicing impossible. I have since relegated my cello to become living room art and dust collector. It makes me sad....but I have decided that stringed instruments are too picky. Move the fingers too high or too low and you are playing a totally different note. Not so with the piano and trumpet. Press the key or the valve and the right note magically comes out...cello...not so much. Kudos to you Tamary.

Tamary said...

That's funny, Andrea, because I've always thought stringed instruments are easier than wind or brass instruments -- you don't have to worry about breath control! Someday maybe we'll get together and play a trumpet/cello duet.

Deborah Raymond said...

I also want to take cello lessons. My husband found me a cello for christmas last year and I have taught myself a small amount on it but it just won't do. The problem is the time, it takes so much time. I forgot how much time I practiced when learning to play the piano. I can't wait to hear you play something!

Lisa said...

I'd rather do dishes than practice piano. Sad, but true.

Tamary said...

I'll make you a deal, Lisa. You do my dishes and I'll practice the piano for you. And I'm willing to practice as many other instruments as necessary if I can trade for housework!