Hello and welcome to another post in my new blog, The Way I See It, focusing on my Life Lenses in one form or another.
In this post, I will share with you my Music Life Lens with my first year playing the piano, along with a bit of musical history for context. You will also find a video below of my playing my song, Receiving Grace, which I wrote and then composed for the piano.
I am so excited to share with you about my piano journey. But first things first.
I’ve always enjoyed music from a young age, and loved to sing in my adolescence and performed vocally for several years. You can read about that here on my Music Page.
One of my greatest dreams was to be able to write and compose music and then play that music on an instrument as I sang.
When I was a child, I wrote a few songs. When I reached my 30s, I had a spiritual experience and received lyrics and melody for 12 songs that emphasized where I was in my spiritual journey at the time. This was a very exciting breakthrough for me, but it didn’t stay with me, which was disappointing. But I guess I just wasn’t ready for what I had always wanted musically; I was deep into homeschooling my two young daughters at the time.
Fast forward to 4 years ago, I began to write songs with melodies as a result of my spiritual studies from sacred text. I began to be wholly inspired to write lyrics that came to me by Spirit much to my delight. I began to record these songs on audio just to have the melodies at the ready. After about three years of song writing, learning much through that ongoing experience, gaining knowledge and writing more structured songs in the process, I began to consider learning to play an instrument to accompany myself.
Years ago, I attempted guitar, but it didn’t suit me, since I have small hands. So I decided that piano would probably be a better choice for me.
So, with a little research, I found a piano app to put on my iPad and see what I could do.
Yes, I was working with a very small screen, only wide enough for melody, but it was a the perfect place for me to start. Just finding my way on the keyboard was exciting.
So I pulled a song from many I wrote and decided to try my hand at finding the melody by ear. Happily, I was able to play the melody after many sessions (with lots of stops and starts along the way).
This was a super exciting development for me musically; after a couple of months of executing right hand melody of two songs composed for piano, I decided to research getting a digital piano. After many months, I chose one that seemed good, a newer model just having come out: Yamaha PSR 373 with all the bells and whistles I could hope for. And it was on sale.
My piano arrived one year ago on my mother’s birthday! (3/1/21) I was so excited to finally have a real digital piano in my space and was eager to try it out. From the beginning I decided I wanted to learn the keys of the piano without putting stickers on the keys for reference. I wanted to learn intuitively where the keys were located with each octave rather than relying on a visual. It took some time, but I made steady progress. I made it a point to play daily since I was enjoying myself so much. I kept adding new melodies to play by ear. In time, I had 30+ songs in my book!
I chose not to wait til I memorized each melody. I figured I could pick and choose which songs I wanted to practice with and play each day. When I first started out, I often had to restart the song since I would make many errors at first. This was a musical instrument, after all, and it didn’t necessarily come easy; but I knew I was in the right place since I loved it so much.
Over the months, I decided to look up a piano teacher on YouTube who came recommended to me, Lisa from Pianote. She made everything make sense to me from the beginning, and I learned a lot from her, especially concerning chords and the various ways to incorporate them into melodies. I’ve tried varying approaches with several of my songs, whether one note, two note or three note chords in left hand, along with some two and three note chords in the right hand.
Of course, I started out just playing the melody of most of my songs with one and 2 keys; but with watching tutorials, and applying the information with my own music, I began to add more and more to my playing.
Some songs I’ve written are more like spiritual choruses while others have two verses and a chorus and some have two versus with a bridge and chorus. It really is a matter of what comes to me through Spirit as I write. Each song to me is a Gift. And to be able to hear the melodies on an instrument is absolutely thrilling.
Playing the melodies with chords is the foundational practice I have developed at this point. Being able to play the piano and sing my melodies at the same time for me is an accomplishment, since it is quite the challenge! And It’s by no means perfect; I am a true novice, an Aspiring Musician in the making. I have a long way to go. But I am encouraged that I can play by ear, and hear my songs and sing them, often, multiple times per day. It is a delight for me to have this as part of my Spiritual practice on a daily basis.
I also discovered that playing a musical instrument is actually good for the immune system; so when I play, I’m actually benefiting my body; not to mention, using and creating new neural pathways in my brain. Yes! So exciting.
Thank you so much for being a part of my Musical journey and for showing interest in my piano discovery process. I’m having so much fun and am being inspired daily to play my songs, which lifts my Spirit and leaves me feeling vibrationally aligned as I honor the gifts I am given. That’s why I wanted to share my journey with you.
Thanks for celebrating my One Year Anniversary with the piano. I have recorded one of my songs titled, Receiving Grace, which, when you watch/listen, I hope you are inspired and lifted in your Spirit too.
Music is a heavenly experience for me; at least, that’s The Way I see It. How do You See It?
Remember, The Way You See It Matters.
Below are the lyrics to my song, Receiving Grace, originally written in 2019. It's a good example of what I mean by a chorus. Hope you enjoy.
Written and Composed by Dawn Herring
It is possible
To see the light again
Even when in darkness
The way can seems so dim
I pray for light and kindness
As I search for truth once more
And recognizing freedom
Through the open door
Help me see the journey
With each step I take
Knowing I am not alone
Make no mistake
I trust in all provision
As I know to seek your face
Remembering your promise
Copyright 2022 Song Lyrics and Melody by Dawn Herring
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I'm Dawn Herring. Here is a space where I share The Way I See It from my many Life Lenses of Art, Music, Journal Keeping, Autism, Mental Health, being Full Time Grandma of Special Needs Grandson, and many other POVs that are relevant and helpful. Prepare for a full spectrum of experience, with an invitation for you to share your POV because The Way You See It Matters too.