Playing Music

Yesterday, I went hiking. It was grand and at times adventurous — we were chancing thunderstorms.

We rambled — I believe that’s British English for hiked — Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. Mount Monadnock has a summit of 3,166 ft and is part of the Appalachian Mountains. We made it up with no rain and lunched at the summit with intense fog, chill, and wind. Down, we nearly made it back dry. We were fortunate to have already passed the rocky section when the rain came.

Here’s a view from the summit.

While the rain was only a light shower, I think that was enough to make me slightly despondent for the rest of the day and into today. Today, I woke up relatively early, 7AM. And I just moped around. I felt so unlike myself. After lunch and some laundry, I decided to play the piano — of course I can’t play anything now, it’s all muscle memory. But it really soothed me. It brought me back to myself. I’m just really happy that I have the piano to go to. I know that when I’m feeling unlike myself, I can always throw myself into the piano and expect to feel better afterwards, even when I play at a subpar level. There’s a real joy when playing the piano. Even when I struggle to learn a piece, I am still enjoying it.
It’s not just the piano. The other day, I pulled out my old recorder from when I was in elementary school. It’s true when people say you don’t forget the things you learn when you were little. Because I remembered every note I learned on the recorder. Compared to the piano, the recorder is very limited. I can play seven octaves on the piano while I can only play a mere octave and some on the the recorder. The piano is also capable of playing more than one note simultaneously while the recorder cannot. But playing both instruments are the same: joyful. And, really, the joy is in the playing. It’s the same for all instruments. Even when I play the only song I know on the guitar over and over again, I feel at ease. Singing I guess is another form of playing music, where the instrument is your voice.
Listening to music in general is soothing. I guess that’s probably why so many people invest in music: purchasing music and music players, learning how to play. There are just so many types of music out there that everyone has something to listen to. People connect to their music, and at times music can inspire and heal people, even help create one’s identity. That’s probably why when I play the music I like, it soothes me. It reminds me of who I am or was. And let’s me return to former self when I am in a despondent and vacant. I highly recommend learning how to play any instrument because it’s truly a wonderful experience, especially when you get to play music you enjoy; it really adds an extra oomph of enjoyment and personal accomplishment into the already enjoyable music.

Originally published at on August 15, 2011.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated emily lam’s story.