The Solitude of Practicing

Growing up, I remember bits of conversations from friends and acquaintances that conveyed sympathy for me…for my assumed loneliness in all those endless hours of practicing in solitude.  Perhaps implying, “Poor Hsing-ay, she sacrifices her childhood for her music.  She sits at that piano and has no life.”  I never knew what to make of it.  Should I play the part of the child prodigy who doesn’t know how to have a life, or how to pursue other interests anyway?  Should I feel embarrassed that I actually look forward to my practicing?  That I am so strange and weird, I preferred practicing to hanging out at the mall?  Should I feel apologetic to my peers, whose parents always used my example to give them guilt trips about not practicing enough? 

Yesterday, as I looked into the faces of my students, I took pleasure in seeing how excited they were about playing piano, about showing me what they’ve done in all that solitude last week.  My students, like me, had been savoring the joy of solitude that is their daily practice time.

©Hsing-ay Hsu 2016