My Therapy: The Piano

May 7, 2015
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(Me completing a piano performance, age 8)

I started playing the piano, by ear, when I was 3 years old. I started formal lessons when I was 5 and continued them, weekly, until I graduated from high school. As a child, I had a love hate relationship with the piano. I LOVED playing it; I hated practicing. I also hated all of the performances I had to participate in throughout my childhood – recitals, exhibitions, competitions – in fact, during particular seasons, they occurred almost weekly. I wanted to quit a million times, but something kept me going and I am grateful for that. Plus, my parents wouldn’t let me quit!

When I was younger, I used to sit down at the piano and make up a song about whatever mood I was in. When I was sad, I would sit down and put something together in a rich minor key. When I was happy, I would create uptempo melodies that my siblings would dance to.

To this day, I use the piano as a therapeutic tool for both me and Arizona. When I’m angry or frustrated, I sit down and bang out Beethoven’s “Pathetique” and it really calms me down. When I feel like Arizona is disconnected and not engaging in conversation with me, I’ll put together a melody and start singing to her instead. She is immediately pulled back in. I can’t tell you how many times she’ll ignore a request when I’m just speaking it to her, but as soon I start singing it, she responds right away.

In what ways do you “give yourself therapy”? How can you work through various feelings that come up for you?