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July 21, 2009


Great post! Thanks for sharing so much of yourself here. This was a great read. I wrote about music on my blog today so you might be interested in checking my post out! :)

Whitney, I understand your piece. I never had aspirations to be a concert pianist, but I do enjoy the magic that happens when the vocalist and accompianist connect. I often play the piano out of duty, but more often than not, I find myself enjoying it much more than I thought I would. I haven't played my violin for 25 years. I have been thinking about how to jump start that part of me again...

I remember your piano abstention period. I'm glad you are finding joy in the piano once more.

You are very talented, and should definitely tap into whatever it is that makes you happy to practice! We want more Whitney! I love to play for great conductors and musicians as well.

Writing is something I enjoyed and was good at growing up, but put down when I picked up motherhood. I'm just now reuniting with my old talent for good, and find that my interests regarding writing have changed; at least for now. My best writing is about subjects that are meaningful to me, and that's what I enjoy most too. I definitely feel the desire to practice and work at it more than I have in a long time, and maybe finding a current meaningful purpose is the key.
It feels great to pick up a talent, brush it off, and make good use of it for more than just myself.
Loved your message here, Whitney! I can't wait to hear about Macy's UT performance.

Whitney, I love to hear you play...
It's a skill I wish I had but certainly wouldn't have the patience to put that amount of time into it.
I'm so anxious to see Macy's show, I hope she performs again, in our area, soon!

Whitney, I'm so happy to hear that you have had this shift in your feelings about playing the piano. I think it is wonderful that it can once again be a pleasure for you to play, rather than just a duty. You are truly gifted, and I love to watch/hear you play--one of my favorite piano related memories of you is at a Christmas sing-along at your house in Southboro. It was a joy to raise our voices in Christmas cheer with such a skilled and capable accompianist in the lead. I am so happy for you that you have rediscovered the magic in making music!

I love this post! I think you've struck a chord with all who've read it. ;^) I think that there are many who want to be valued without being the lead...that's the reason for choir. It's a way to take that unique something you have and blend it with everyone else's unique something and come up with a sound of beauty. Collaboration, especially with talented people, is an amazing growth experience.

I love to hear you play. And I love to hear Macy sing. It's pure joy. Thank you both!

I chose not to major in Vocal Performance or Musical Dance Theater for this reason: I did not want to make singing a chore for me (plus, I was really intersted in economics and political science!).

My experience with piano is both similar and very different. I did not major in piano in college (English and political science), but I still practiced 2-4 hours a day, simply because I loved it. (In hindsight, I think it was also a form of meditation and a way to deal with borderline depression and OCD.)

Once I left my undergraduate years, I lost the structure of teachers and regular performance dates. Also, the time constraints of graduate school, profession, and children caught up with me. I stopped playing, not because I didn't love it, but because if I couldn't play at my prior, near-expert level, I didn't want to do it at all. I let perfectionism get in the way of something I truly loved.

Practicing can be hard work, and sometimes it is hard to persuade myself to sit down and get started. Also, it falls under the "important" rather than the "urgent" category--something you need to do to attain expertise, but the progress is so incremental that it is hard to convince oneself of the importance of any given session. However, I have NEVER left a practice session regretting it. (The same is true of exercise.) I have always left the piano feeling spiritually cleansed and uplifted (and frankly wanting to stay longer).

I love what music schools call piano accompaniment. It's not "accompanying" (with its implication of playing Batman to Robin). It's called "collaborative piano", which acknowledges the importance of the pianist in the overall piece. My sister is a professional opera singer. It's been interesting to meet some of her "coaches" (expert pianists who have chosen to work in opera, working with singers' interpretation and diction). Good singers know that their pianists are a critical part of their performance, and they regard them accordingly.

Collaborative piano. I LOVE that. I've been thinking since performing with Whitney in Utah that the term accompanist just felt like the wrong word. Having Whitney play the piano for my show has been a collaboration and a joyful one at that. Whitney - your hard work and willingness to perform with me has been a thrilling and humbling part of this whole cabaret experience for me. I thank you for that. And thank you for this post. I want to read the book you quoted on practicing. The quote really rang true for me.

I agree with Macy. I loved the Utah show and thoroughly enjoyed both your performances. Collaboration, synergy, sistergy.

this lesson really resonated with me... it takes awhile to move beyond "shoulds" to be pulled by what gives us pleasure... and there is an extra sweetness when it is an experience one is co-creating....
one of my fav quotes "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life".... thank you for your lovely blog

Beautiful post. Thanks, Whitney. I had a similar experience with music in college. I enjoyed it so much in HS, but then in college it became so pressured and stressful that I felt I'd lost a bit of my love for it. After I was through with college I continued practicing dutifully for a while, but then kind of left it unless someone asked me to play or sing. Then when I did, I was extremely nervous--to the point of barely being able to perform. Over the last few years the joy has come back to me in bits, I think as the memories of the pressure have faded and as I've allowed myself to play when playing is a joy to me. Although I've always appreciated the talent (even in the off times), I sure appreciate it more when I'm really enjoying it and taking part in it. Thanks again for the post.

Great post. I love Kurtz' quote. So much of what we do in life really is 'practicing' - especially for me 'rearing children. "When you truly believe the story of your practicing, it has the power to turn routine into a route".

Incidentally, I wish I had practiced the piano more as a child, but I am a much better pianist now than I ever was because I want to be.

That's a great quote Julia!!!When you believe in what you practice the routine becomes the route to achieving what we are working towards! Love it!

Are you still practicing and performing Whitney? I grew up studying classical piano as well - although it never felt like a chore….it wasn't until I got older that this inner "hero vs. victim" role around creativity began to surface. In Steven Pressfield's book -The War of Art - he identifies "the victim" as resistance…maybe there's a part in all of us that resists becoming "the hero" of our dreams - I know Joseph Campbell would agree...that our inner resistance between these two roles is the making of every great story…makes you wonder, if it were easy, would there still be a story to tell?

Great post & cheers to everyone on here who is daring to dream :)

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About this blog

  • When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street to pursue a different dream and help others live theirs, I learned that women in the U.S. may be placated, even pampered, but because we aren't dreaming, we are also desperate and depressed. Drawing on a variety of sources, ranging from academic studies to pop culture, dare to dream encourages us to dream. And then to act on our dreams.


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