Muscle Memory and the Muppet Show Theme Song

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I have owned a piano for almost six months now. When we loaded it in my car, I remember thinking “In six months, if I haven’t used this much, I will resell it and free up space in our living room.” I wasn’t sure that I would practice piano anymore as an adult than I did as a middle school kid. Mom faithfully paid my piano teacher Mrs. Gatrost, and I faithfully showed up at her house for my lesson each week, having tried to cram a week worth of practice into the half hour before my lesson.

I have owned a piano for almost six months now and something crazy has happened: I have played it nearly every day. I started with some of the piano lesson books, trying to figure out what level I would be. The lessons didn’t really do it for me, so I picked up a couple fun easy piano books. I’m not great at it. I play at varying speeds. I hit wrong notes. On some songs, I just plain suck.

But I’ve been playing more. I have a book of hymns that I keep flipping through. I play a mean “Jesus Loves Me” and “Blessed Assurance.” I can stumble my way through half a dozen other hymns. Playing them soothes me (though I doubt it would be soothing for a listener.) I used to have a book of Sesame Street songs but lost it sometime around college. I reordered that and also found a book of easy Muppet music.

I’ve been trying to master the Muppet Show theme and “Moving Right Along.” I’m trying to get them up to tempo. I’m realizing the more I play them– and really it’s just 15 minutes in the morning, maybe 10-20 minutes at night– the more my hands hit the right keys without trying. In fact, I sound so much worse on the piano when I do try. Crazy. But my muscles are learning where the keys are. And they’re remembering.

Music saves me at the end of stressful days. Music sets my mind in the right place at the start of my day. Playing great songs, wrong notes and all, has become a spiritual discipline. And it’s amazing how many alternate lyrics we’ve come up with at my house for the Muppet theme. “It’s time to pet a kitty…”

So here’s the update for today: I’m keeping the piano.

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About SaraBSutter

I serve as the pastor of United Presbyterian Church in Goldfield, Iowa. My husband Steve and I are excited to be in a friendly small town and look forward to the years ahead. In addition to nerdy church stuff, I love reading books, writing, good coffee, cats, and football.

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