My Therapy : The Piano

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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?

5 Comments on “My Therapy : The Piano

      • I love this method of creative intervention!! I am a huge supporter of using the arts as a tool of expression, especially for our special learners! This is such an important and useful method to pull out emotions in children who might struggle with connecting and expressing their feelings. Growing up as a creative learner, exposure to the arts certainly helped me move through life’s challenges… I wish ‘happy songs’ could be played for adults through the challenges of parenthood!

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