Monday, January 16, 2012

Enthusiasm is the Thing!

"Once we admit the need for help, the help arrives."  -Julia Cameron

I have a lot of dreams in my life.  One of them is to play jazz piano like Nat King Cole and accompany myself whilst singing.  No biggie. Have you ever been discouraged when trying to learn something new? As an adult, do you have goals this year that are taking you out of your comfort zone?   I'm learning that over any period of time, learning something new and reaching goals requires enthusiasm

When I was a little girl, I went to a concert at Symphony Hall with my mom and grandma.    The concert was memorable in that the conductor introduced a 14 year old boy who would be joining the symphony to play a piano concerto.  When he finished (I wish I could remember the boys name), I was amazed at how excellent he played.  A spark was kindled inside of me, a desire to play the piano like that.

There are so many talents inside the talent of music. At first, piano lessons went well.  My teacher would play everything she wanted me to practice, and I remembered the little tunes and played them all week, then would pass of my assignments the following week.  This went on for about 3 months, until she introduced note reading.  Brick wall.

I didn't have the talent of note reading.  In fact, looking back now, I wonder if I have some form of a learning disability, such as a touch of dyslexia.  The dots all looked the same on the page.  I couldn't distinguish up from down and would get so mixed up.  Unless I could hear the notes, then I knew immediately where to go and what to do.  I fumbled through learning the treble cleff notes and then was completely lost again when the bass cleff notes were introduced.  I remember feeling so stupid and defeated, but I was determined to get it.  I stuck with piano lessons and practice though I'm still not a great sight reader.  (The guitar is the same way for me.  I've tried my darndest to read tablature. I'm still working at it. )

Fast forward to the present year 2012.  This year, I have a new piano goal to learn jazz piano.    I started studying with a great teacher a few months ago and I feel like that same little girl all over again.  What got me through the road bumps when I was younger is the love of the adventure, the love of loving what I'm doing.

Julia Cameron states, "Enthusiasm (from the Greek, "filled with  God") is an ongoing energy supply tapped into the flow of life itself.  Enthusiasm is grounded in play, not work.  Far from being a brain-numbed soldier, our artist is actually our child within, our inner playmate.  As with all playmates, it is joy, not duty, that makes for a lasting bond."

I formed a lasting bond with the piano as a child by asking for help.  Basically what this meant was, I would pray for inspiration alot when I'd sit down to practice.  There's a process I go through between the work of it and the play of it.  When I hit brick walls in my practicing, (it seems like at least every 5 minutes....) I try to remind myself that "creative work is actually creative play. And at the heart of this play is the mystery of joy."  I've received amazing insights through applying this process of asking/receiving ideas or inspiration/practicing/working at it/hitting a brick wall, and then going through the process over and over again.

This Friday I'm going to try out my new found jazz piano skillz at a concert in Brigham City. I'm so excited! and a little scared! But I'm hopeful it will be just fine and I won't die of failure or embarrassment or anything else tragic.  I just want to play and sing and be in the moment of sheer jazz joy! I'm so grateful for the opportunity to grow. And I'm so grateful for the joy music brings to me.  Thank you for listening too! Your support makes me glow.  I am soaked in gratitude!



  1. Danielle,
    You are a good girl. How do you find time to keep transforming yourself into More and Better? You're lucky you've found your passion and are chasing it and sometimes...I like that word..."soaking" in it. Yay for you! This is a beautiful blog, thanks for sharing.
    Loves, Maria

    1. thanks Maria! so good to hear from you. thanks for reading! Let me know when your blog is ready, I'd love to keep up on your goings on's as well. OxOx -Danners