By Leonardo Ciampa
You just had the worst day of your life. You overslept because you set your alarm for 6 PM instead of AM. You were late for work because your dishwasher gave up the ghost. Your conflict-averse boss made you mediate an argument between colleagues so that he could take a day off. In the middle of the meeting, the school nurse called you and told you that your child punched another child, whose mother happens to be a defense attorney. On the way home you got a flat tire on the highway and had to change it in the rain. You decide to cheer yourself up by going out to eat. But when the bill came, your card was declined, because the bank froze your account due to fraudulent activity.
On the way home, you think of the time George Gobel said to Johnny Carson, “Do you ever feel like life is a tuxedo, and you’re a pair of brown shoes?“
You walk in your door, take off your shoes, and after stepping on a Lego with one foot and cat puke with the other, you look at the calendar. It’s only Monday.
At that moment, what do you turn to to relax? A piece of chocolate? A glass of wine? A cold beer? A cup of herbal tea? A few rounds of Tetris or solitaire? A mile on the treadmill? A cigarette or ten?
The thought crosses your mind, “On top of everything else, I forgot practice the piano today.“
Then you think, “I can’t possibly do that now. I’m tired and cranky.“
But here’s what I ask you to do. I ask you to let music be the wine, the chocolate, the treadmill, the pack of Davidoffs. Rather than say, “I can’t practice because I had a bad day,” think instead, “I HAVE to practice BECAUSE I had a bad day.” Instead of thinking, “I’m too angry to practice,” think instead, “I need the music to soothe my anger.“
And if you think, “I can’t practice because I’m not focused,“ what better way to focus than to play music! It is a chicken or the egg thing: rather than wait to be focused before practicing, use practicing to focus you.
No matter how hard work is, don’t forget that life consists of bread and roses, and both are equally important. Because you need the roses to carry you between loaves. You need the job for the bread, but music is the most beautiful and fragrant rose of them all.
Lastly, turn the ringer off your phone while you’re practicing. With the kind of day that you’ve been having, whatever the news is, you don’t want to hear it.
Leonardo Ciampa is a composer/pianist/organist and instructor with Note-worthy Experiences Music Studio. Leonardo is also the founding director of MetroWest Choral Artists, an all-professional choir and Honorary Music Director (Maestro di Capella Onorario) of the Basilica di Sant'Ubaldo in Gubbio, Italy. From 2009-2016 Ciampa was the artistic director of organ concerts at M.I.T. For more about Leonardo please visitLeonardo's teacher page.