I’ve been a member of this cult at various points of my life and each time membership brought pleasure, intellectual stimulation and feelings of self-worth and well being. I’ve also drifted away at various points, using excuses that now seem thin and frail, such as “I don’t have time” and “It’s not really worth the effort” and “I’ll never be any good”. This time my separation has lasted a number of years. Yet, now that I’ve returned I’m realizing that a hole in my life that I wasn’t even aware of has been filled again.
I’ve returned to the cult of active piano playing.
If you’ve never been a member, you’re probably scoffing at my romantic, smarmy language. But that’s ok. As members of any cult know, standing up to public opposition and ridicule is part of the experience and it makes the rewards that much sweeter.
I did it in 2 simple steps. First, I decided that I wanted to rejoin and then I started taking lessons again from a wonderful doctoral candidate at NYU.
Bach, Schumann, Scriabin and Stephen Sondheim have come back into my life as my personal friends. When I’m not sitting at the piano I’m thinking about sitting at the piano. And even at my lowest, when I think about where I’d be if I hadn’t drifted away the last time, I take great satisfaction in knowing that already I’m beyond where I left.
Being in this cult does not depend on a single messiah. There is no single personality dominating me nor have I pledged my worldly possessions. All it takes is willpower (and a piano). I’ve committed time and attention and in return some of the greatest minds in civilization have come into my house and my mind, hopefully to stay.
I hope I remain a member for the rest of my life.