Ode to Joy

Musical memory…is there such a thing?

I’ve heard of muscle memory. How a person can hop on a bicycle despite any recent pedaling and still take a spin as if they rode yesterday.

A couple of years ago, my hubby bought me an electric piano or keyboard. I don’t know what you call it; I just play it. My fingers hadn’t touched a piano for close to 30 years. And, I resumed playing rather easily. Sure, I had to focus and write down the names of some of the notes on the sheet music. But, the ol’ brain retained the musical knowledge.

Life is busy. It seems I play mostly around the Christmas season these days. Each year, I tell myself I must start earlier next year in order to learn new songs. Maybe even the music of Vince Guaraldi. You know, the scores from the Peanuts Christmas special where Schroeder plays on his tiny piano. That music is difficult! But, the challenge is worth it.

Well, this year I remembered mid-November of my desire to practice piano again. I don’t own a lot of sheet music so it was no surprise I stumbled across two of Dad’s favorites’: Ave Maria and Ode to Joy.

I’m a bashful pianist. I play for my family only. Before a piano recital as a youngster, I even started sleep walking from stress about it. That’s my confidence level.

I remember playing Ode to Joy for Mom and Dad in the past. Dad made a point of telling me it was a chosen hymn for his funeral.  It made me uncomfortable at the time, to think Dad would ever leave us.

Well, it’s been six weeks now since Dad’s sudden passing at the age of 94. When I play these two favourite songs, I make sure to hit all the right notes. I use special effects so the piano sounds like a church organ for a certain angel to hear in Heaven.  It doesn’t make me sad at all. On the contrary, I feel a blissful peace. True joy from playing an Ode to Joy.

My hubby and daughter who live with me are very understanding of my musical therapy. They’re hearing a lot of Ode to Joy and Ave Maria lately.  And, my four budgies? They couldn’t be happier. They chirp along too!


2 thoughts on “Ode to Joy

  1. my condolences on your loss. however, muscle/music memory? Yes it exists. i would killed to see or remember the positions and notes like that- not really but it is a prize when that happens. I still remember what wasn’t the opening jingler riff of “year of the cat” which i still can vaguely remember and make my hand start to play- I cannot remember the majority of what was weeks to learn of other songs save little laughs heree and there like reading a song book and oo “a whole new world” what? it’s in C? no it isn’t it’s D! or David Lanz spiral dance open it’s long back into the fogs. or take cooking, i can parrot to you how to make a tomatio rose – the secret is in it being imprescise as in bothoth edges not straight but slighly jagged s and same with the skin having some flesh bitand making sure you have a few inches peel length so it rolls up in a mostly circle but slight…ever so slight cone like a flower head. this i can do but ask my hands to prove it and i’m rather sure i’ll be soon discussing how the tomato gods are against me. I thus can. learn and forget the ways to the prize not the prize perhaps but thejourney. back to music, I wouldn’t discuss the year of the cat – al stewart if you want to seventies it up on the youtube…without little brown jug- haha that you know that means booze. but in seventh grade orchestra i didn’t put that together it was just a song we learned for the “show” the pattern almost comes to me. I feel that deja vu of meaning. i know i honestly can’t hum the song and it isn’t tone deafness rearing it’s head- it’s I genuinely haven’t that type of memory. mine’s a kind of pictures/feelings not movements journey. i hope you find the feeling as in joy in your reminsces. again I’m sorry for your loss.

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