The First is Always the Most Difficult

When I was in 8th grade, my mother enrolled me in piano lessons at the urging of Mr. Thayer, my choir director. He felt that my musical talents would benefit from doing more than singing. I was given an inexpensive organ that Christmas and the lessons began a month later.

If you picture a petite Barbra Streisand with a short, dark brown perm, that would be Mindy. She gave lessons at a local guitar shop where my brother was taking lessons. While Mindy had studied piano for close to 15 years, she hated classical music, and instead taught popular music.

Along with learning the scales in each key, Mindy handed me my first song, Mozart's Minuet. It would be the only classical song I learned in my time with her. It took a month of daily practice, but the day that I was able to play it through with proper fingering and no mistakes, it sounded a lot like this:

It was rough, but even though the progress was slow, it was fun to see that I was getting closer to getting the whole thing right. The day that I did, the sense of accomplishment at finally finishing it was such a rush.

Fortunately, after that one, the songs seemed to get easier. However, they really weren't, it was just that I had conquered one, so it stood to reason that I'd master these, too. Even when I switched to a new teacher, Danny, because he'd teach me classical piano, that didn't change. Daily Hanon exercises strengthened my fingers and those tough Chopin preludes took time to get through, but they weren't nearly as intimidating as that first one.

Throughout my life, the memory of learning that minuet comes to mind when something new is vexing me. The soundtrack in my head must play it to remind me to keep plugging away, because, like that minuet, effort will be rewarded.

And so it's been for the past two weeks. One of my classes is very challenging, introducing several software packages that I've never used before. The first, Photoshop, is complex. Things can look incredible, and others show glaring mistakes. It would be the hardest program I've tackled, but the effort definitely would pay off.

Twenty or so hours reading different articles about Photoshop and listening to tutorials, I jumped in. It took a lot of time. The original vision I had for the project had to be scaled back, because I'm not an expert-yet.

After all the time that went into the project, it is done. It looks good, in fact, it looks professional, but I know that I can do better. The work that went into this one definitely will make the others better-and easier.

(once I edit out information about the recipient, I'll add it to this post)


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