piano keys


Phyllis Inspiration 25 Comments

We are constantly bombarded by competitions. Cookoffs, golf, football, and just about anything else that can be a competition is televised. We are heralded as winners! Winners. Interesting concept of being a winner, isn’t it? Winner of what—a trophy, ribbon, title, or level of accomplishment? Most of the winners I have seen lately are the chefs who can take odd ingredients and create a black pepper, cactus, and marmalade cake in 20 minutes! Yea, we have a new winner!

All joking aside, we love to see people who have worked to accomplish a goal they set for their lives. Leading up to that moment of public victory are hours of unseen times where the real work is done. It’s the concealed moments that are spent thinking, praying, researching, or perfecting a process that warrant the applause, because that’s where much of the real work happens! It’s actually the culmination of hours of unseen work that becomes public.

I started studying piano when I was 9. I had waited until that magic age so Mom and Dad could enroll me in piano lessons. Finally, the day came for my first lesson. I was the happiest person I knew to be in a place to learn how to play the piano—my dream. And oh, the sacrifices they made to pay for piano lessons and a piano! But it meant the world to me. 

After the first lesson, I realized that the practice time at home was where the real work was going to happen. The lesson time was merely a checkpoint to see if the behind-the-scenes work had been done. And oh, the agony of knowing I hadn’t practiced as I should have when the day came for the trip to Mrs. Taft’s for my lesson. She knew….

I have loved the piano ever since my first lesson. I enjoyed being on church staffs serving at the piano and then later, the organ. But guess what—I still had to practice before each service!

There’s a richness to be found in the unseen, the giving of ourselves to a task that will be applauded by no one other than God. Giving everything to this part of the process will ensure that what is seen is the result of unseen work. Determination and desire are important to any process of accomplishing a goal. Many times you have to give up other things in order to do this.

Have we given up on dreams that we have? Maybe we tucked them away and thought that someday we will do this. Well today is the day. Take time and think about the one thing you would love to do that will be a journey and not an overnight accomplishment—something that you really have longed to do. Let yourself dream, and then start your dream.

The greatest satisfaction will come when you are pleased with yourself. Your new journey may be seen and applauded by others, but all that matters is you are happy with your accomplishment. 

What are your dreams?


Comments 25

  1. Carol, your story inspired and encouraged me. I’d always wanted to learn calligraphy. Finally at the age of 70 I took it up. I was terrible at first but with practice I’ve gotten better. I think you’re right about having more patience with ourselves at this age. I’m now 75. My teacher recommended water color as a background to the calligraphy. I was reluctant at first but I love it. It’s trial and error but I learned it’s ok to make mistakes. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Loved your article. I’ve wanted to take classes in watercolor since I was in high school, and finally at the age of 72 enrolled in a class at a local art studio. That was two years ago, I’m still there and still loving every minute of painting and learning. I honestly feel that if I’d attempted it earlier in life, I would not have persevered. Watercolor is a challenge and I have more patience now – and more reasonable expectations. I encourage anyone who has “always wanted to . . .” to find a way to begin.

  3. I learned to play the piano at age 6, and played for many years. Of late, I play the harp and plan to stay practiced up for my job in Heaven. 🙂

    The joy is truly in the journey, no matter where it takes you.

  4. I would love to learn sign language so I could help others in communication needs.
    I am researching a school to learn this unique language in our area…
    I have no voice for singing which I always felt bad about I just can’t carry a tune,
    love to sing out in church and I embarrass myself because my voice is sooo bad.
    Oh well, I’m happy on the inside…
    California Carmel

  5. I wanted to learn to play the piano and I tried, I really did! The notes on paper made NO sense to me. I was, though, gifted with a lovely voice from the time I was very young. I could hear a piece and was able to sing it. My Mom tells me I was singing cigarette commercials when I was 2 years old, I’m now 65. One of the Ministers of Music at a former church, Parkview Baptist Church, in Lake City, FL gave the choir a wonderful music education!
    He gave me the tools to truly develop my voice. My former sister-in-law & I have talked of the education he gave us!
    Music was a large part of my life, always singing and rehearsing for some presentation. Now, however, I have Thyroid issues and have nodules on my vocal chords and diminished control, so those days are over for me.
    I have ALWAYS praised God for the talent I had.

  6. Playing the piano was also a dream for me. My parents saved and bought a piano for me when I was 12. I began substituting for the regular pianist church when I was 16. (I went to a small church then ) I have played for church for 50 years, and it has given me so much pleasure. My family is a musical family and we have had so much fun playing instruments together. Several play guitar, dulcimer – even spoons! All my children took piano, but never had the ‘burn’ I did to play. Now a new dream is coming true – my 12 yr. old grandaughter has ‘the burn’ and is thrilling me with her beautiful playing!

  7. My 97 year old second cousin decided that in her 80s she wanted to learn to play the piano. She bought an upright, took lessons, and practiced an hour each day. Although she couldn’t read music, she could hear a song and figure out the notes. When she moved into a smaller apartment, she was happy that her neighbors didn’t mind her playing the piano. And, she was thrilled to discover that several in the complex played musical instruments. One Thursday, she posted a sign in the lobby for a pot luck & musical dinner at her apartment – it was a bring your own musical instrument (BYOMI) gathering. The jam sessions took place twice a month in her apartment. Occasionally, they would be held in another apartment if someone brought a keyboard for her to use. I recall her excitement in conversations relaying that someone brought a friend – an accordion player, one time there was a harp! Those Thursday night, musical pot lucks continued into her 90s. They kept her connected with her young neighbors and active in the community where she volunteered to play the piano at sing-alongs. We are so thankful that she followed her dream to learn to play the piano.

  8. This is wonderful, and how great it is that you still play. A complicated thing–yes, the practice is where it happens, but without those half-hour or hour lessons every week you wouldn’t have progressed either. A good teacher is as much part of the magic as the daily devotion to improvement.
    I, too, took piano for many years, but spending my days sitting at one keyboard makes me less inclined to unwind at a different keyboard. At one point I took up ballroom dancing, especially Argentine tango, in order to having music and moving, too. My kid has taken piano for 9 years now and is very good, much better than I ever was. It is pure joy to listen to practice, especially the jazz.

  9. I feel differently. My parents thought all Southern young ladies should play the piano. I have no musical talents. Yes, I do like to sing the old hymns to myself, but as far as playing the piano no. I took piano and organ lessons (organ not until I was in high school) for 11 years. I have not touched the piano since. I do enjoy listening to all the recorded music my husband and I have, but I did not have the talent. The things I enjoy in adult life are cooking, hand work, swimming and photography. We are retired and get to spend time doing these things.

  10. I am always amazed at how much alike we are Phyllis. I started piano at age 7 and also sewed from the time I was 12. I also play classical guitar and played often at church and weddings. Throw in now my passion for knitting and love of reading Victoria magazine and all things beautiful. Life is such a joy even in the tough times. I love all the beauty you focus on.

  11. Phyllis, I can so relate to your post. I began piano lessons at age 9 and it was my dream come true. My parents sacrificed for piano and voice lessons until I graduated high school. I am so grateful for their sacrifice. I have been a church musician since the age of 12 and at almost 65, I am still playing. Thank you for sharing.

  12. To learn to swim. My sister is four years older and was given piano lessons for six years. Ofcourse I wanted to learn to play also. I was only given piano lessons for a half year. My mother said it was because I didn’t practice but my sister always got to practice first after we got off the school bus at 4o’clock and did our chores and by that time homework and dinner took all the time. That’s alright though because I have a piano and I have learned to play. Now my goal to to learn to swim. Do you think I can learn at age 76? Well my best effort is going into learning. Love this post Phyllis.

  13. What a wonderful post,Phyllis. I too remember all the hours I practised and practised the piano. I so enjoy playing for myself and sometimes for my husband. But as for dreams…like Martha, I was busy taking care of my family, then my parents. But I have been working on a couple of children’s books now, I am learning a new language and one day I hope to live in a another city or country with my husband for a few months.( we’ve never lived anywhere else our entire lives!) It would be fun and interesting!! It’s wonderful to dream…..

  14. Phyllis, once again you have inspired me to move forward! Your post today has made me cry( in a good way) because I think a fresh hope as been kindled to start creating art again. I know GOD has made me an artist but I’ve given myself to raising children ( now in college) and doing eldercare ( now they’re in assisted living) and I have felt drained of creative energy. I have thoroughly enjoyed both of these callings but maybe it’s time to start something new. Thank you for causing me to start thinking of fresh ways to bless the folks around me.

    1. Martha you touch me with your kind words. Be an artist who created beautiful things!!!! You can do it and it will be restorative to your soul!!!

  15. Oh, Phyllis, your words truly spoke to me today! A dream of mine has been to learn watercolor painting and handlettering. Now that I’m retired,
    I’m determined to make my dream come true . . . however accomplished the results may/may not be. I’m struggling to deal with the self-critic imp who sits on my shoulder! I’ve taken some lessons, purchased art supplies, and set up a painting area in our basement. So, I’m working my dream, and feeling joyful when I’m immersed in my paint or letters!
    Thank you for your words today!

    1. Do NOT be a self critic!!! It’s all about the journey to joy! You can do anything that you want to and enjoy every moment of it!

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