Taking music lessons has been a real ear-opening experience, far more so than I expected. For example, I’ve come to appreciate the sublime beauty of music more so than before.

As a novice piano student, I’m learning fairly simple pieces. Still, they have their own beauty. I recently learned a piece called To Fly LIke an Eagle, not to be confused with the similar-sounding tune by the Steve Miller Band. After finishing with my previous piece, my instructor played several tunes for me to choose from for my next piece. I picked To Fly LIke an Eagle because it was the piece I liked the best. I also recorded my instructor playing it so that I would have a reference. But what surprised me was that after working on the piece on my own for twenty minutes, it became not just a nice piece, but an emotionally moving piece. How can that be?

I think that part of the reason is that it is much simpler to play than it sounds. Also, it has a simple pattern at the beginning that is much more beautiful than it ought to be. The first line repeats the same simple pattern moving up one octave after each measure, but with a simple twist in the fourth and final measure of the line. That such a simple thing could sound so beautiful is a revelation on its own.

The odd thing is that I don’t think I would have had the same reaction if I wasn’t learning the piece. Part of the beauty is the simplicity of the music. Learning the music taught me its simplicity, which I didn’t realize beforehand.

Of course, the more you learn to play, the better your ears become. I’m much more experienced with my bass guitar, and I notice a lot of things in the bass lines of songs. I can usually visualize how they’re played. I presume the same will happen with the piano as I become a better player. I’ll eventually hear in the piano music, too, how it’s played. In that sense, learning to play the piano has really opened up a new appreciation for the instrument and the music it produces. That increases one’s appreciation of the sublime beauty of music.

In the end, then, I’ve learned far more from my instructor than simply how to play a tune.