Thursday, May 01, 2008

Held Prisoner by the Score

It just occurred to me today that what I would really like to be able to do is play the piano like I cook, sort of inventing as I go. How I envy those who can sit down and play by ear!

I’m an adventurous cook. I love the idea of just dreaming up a recipe from what you have on hand. I love to experiment with different herbs and spices. I even love to come up with substitute ingredients when something is missing.

But when I play the piano, I have to stick to the music because I don’t have the training or the natural ability to stray from the printed score. It means I tend to make a lot of mistakes and I can’t easily finesse around a problem. It also means I can’t just sit down and jam with people. It’s so frustrating to hear it in your head and not be able to replicate it with your fingers.

I keep wondering if I really apply myself and learn music theory, will I suddenly be able to put the music aside or is there actually no hope for people like me?

Maybe instead I should just hone my cooking skills and stick to playing from the music as written.


Blogger Aileen said...

Hi Barbara!

I lost your email address and I was looking for details about tomorrow's gathering...can you email me at

Thanks! Look forward to seeing you.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous lr said...

Barbara, I was struck today again by your agility with words and ideas. I am amazed constantly by your ability to write a succinct, thoughtful, interesting, entertaining blog everyday. But today I was struck upside the head, in a manner of speaking, by your title “Held Prisoner by the Score”. I scanned the list of your earlier titles on the right side of the page and thought again of how gifted you are with words. I guess you’ll just have to adjust to playing the piano by the book and wallow in the pleasure of jamming with your words and your food. Enjoy!

9:26 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I can't even go off the book with food. Not well, as hard as I try. I envy you that, even if you have to leave your own composition to the kitchen (and the writing) instead of the piano.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Aileen -- Sent! Can't wait to see you!

LR -- Your husband can do so well what I wish I could do! These talented people make it seem so easy, when in fact for most of us it is not.

Kristin -- Maybe it's with photography that you are liberated from convention. I think it must be something different for each of us!

2:26 PM  

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