music to soothe the savage breast (or beast? i never know.)

'round about my last birthday, i realized my bucket list was sorely lacking things that provided personal fulfillment and, being an action-oriented kind of person, i decided to do something about it. one of those "things" was to play a musical instrument. many decades ago, with thanks to my mom and dad, i was given piano lessons. while lots of kids took piano & dreaded it, i actually loved it. the idea of playing music — of my own choosing — thrilled me to bits. too bad no one in the house would tolerate my practice rounds. being a young, impressionable kid, i quit. that made me sad for a really long time.

when i became a mom, i thought that i would give my child the gift of music, as my mom and dad did for me. i bought a piano and began taking lessons again, a mere 30 years after my first adventure behind the keys. and while i found that i still enjoyed the instrument, the demands of being a mom with a toddler, a full-time designer, and wife were demanding to the point there was little time to practice. again, my determination waivered and my child had no interest in playing an old piano — he wanted an electric guitar.

we decided to move to the pacific northwest a few years ago and i had to make a choice — move the piano (which i was no longer playing) — or leave it behind. it had come from a very historic place in denver (it was the stage piano for the Elitch Gardens Summer Stock Theatre, and dated to 1906). many famous people had played it and performed to it's beautiful sounds.

i made numerous attempts to return it to the theatre's foundation which was creating a museum for items from the theatre, but they weren't interested in their workhorse piano (i think they wanted the steinway back instead). i resorted to finding a new owner on craigslist and happily had a lot of interest. a wonderful young lady, who happened to have just moved to denver from my hometown, birmingham, mi, contacted me and i took it as a sign. i told her the history of the piano and she promised me that if she ever decided to sell it, she'd try to return it to the Foundation, so that it could return to it's rightful place.

now, i am the mom of a young adult, and i still have the need to make music of my own. space and budget being a consideration — a new piano was out of the question. i had tried out my son's guitars, but found my hands were too small to spread out for most of the chords. at some point my husband (being an avid collector), brought home what we thought was a super sexy, old ukulele. that gave me the idea to give it a try. it's small, portable and seemingly simple to play. the groovy old uke he brought home turned out to be a toy guitar and there is nothing sexy about playing that. so i ventured down to my local music store and bought the real deal.

what i found out is that little, inexpensive instrument is pretty complicated. first, you've got to learn the chords. well that was a given. then what… oh the strumming part. i'm working on that part, how to strum what kind of song. now it's getting interesting. then, can you sing along with the song? er, what? walk and chew gum? i'll get back to you on that one. the members of my little family may not be able to contend with my lack of vocal ability, but they do enjoy the music that now comes from the little uke that I now play, and will probably always play. i'm in love. check one more thing off the bucket list.