The 40 by 40 Project is written by Angie Teater, a New York-based interior designer & travel writer. The Project begins on Angie's 39th birthday (March 11, 2017) with only 365 days to accomplish everything on the list before turning big Four-Oh! 

Forty goals. One year. Endless possibilities.

#34: Take a Piano Lesson

#34: Take a Piano Lesson

I didn't take many pictures of this one. My hands were otherwise occupied tickling the keys! Ok, not exactly tickling the was more like clunking. I should apologize to the piano.

So how did this one end up on the birthday bucket list? Long, long ago my Grandpa Duane - musician, conductor, band leader - attempted to teach me how to play the piano. He passed away before we could complete our lessons, leaving me quite adept at banging out Richard Marx ballads by ear while failing miserably at reading sheet music. 

No offense to Mr. Marx, but I've always wished that I'd learned how to play properly. So, to honor my grandpa and our unfinished musical adventures, I decided to take a piano lesson.

To make that happen, I enlisted the help of my fabulous friend Tamra Paselk, whose musical brilliance, performance abilities, and patience (!!!) know no end. She agreed to indulge my crazy request:

"One lesson, please!"

I say “indulged” because god knows you can’t learn to play the piano in ONE lesson. Even Mozart couldn’t do that (could he?). So lacking any evidence of being a savant, I sat at the keyboard with no expectations and we assessed where I was.

Which was nowhere good. 

But nowhere bad.


A few bits from my Grandpa's lessons came back. I could identify middle "C" and pick out a few correct notes. It was a start!

Within that hour, Tamra opened up a whole new world of music to me. As I told her, I knew the ocean of music was deep, but she is the one who gave me a snorkel to actually glimpse it! She explained symbols on the sheet music, history of composures, chords that evoke emotions, "Happy! Scared! Oooh, that sounds like a wedding!"

She explained the mind and language of musicians. 

And she helped me bumble my way through a line or two of Mozart's "Fur Elise". 

It was a lovely experience, sitting at the piano with a good friend willing to crack open the door to music and let me peek inside. I'm sure my grandpa would be proud.

And so would Richard Marx. 

#14: See the Taping of a TV Show

#14: See the Taping of a TV Show

#22: Bake Something from Scratch

#22: Bake Something from Scratch