Eric Whitachords



Do you have it?  Do I?  At least for me, I can say that for other people, I have compassion.  But do I have it for myself?  Not always.  And I think that it is hardest for us to have compassion for ourselves.

I have been blogging recently about trauma and healing, and the ways that I approach my own healing process.  I’ve been writing in my journal, playing piano, and once again, have tried my hand at composition.  The first time, as I noted in my last blog, produced a noise that I don’t ever care to repeat (though I’ve been told that it was in line with my particular emotional line that day).  A couple of days ago, I decided to give it another go…but this time I came prepared.

And by prepared I mean that I had a friend suggest a key for me, so that I had a bit of ammunition going into my practice session.

I started with my regular practice agenda: scales, velocity exercises, and then a handful of pieces.  In all actuality, I was stretching out the practice session to avoid the composition portion.  That being said, I finished the practice and started the composing.  For between 30 minutes and an hour I wrestled with the notes in the key of D Dorian, started through the musical maze, and eventually, emerged victorious.  Here is where compassion comes in: instead of lending myself to the emotional process, I spent the whole time thinking about whether or not my piece sounded good, despite the fact that it is only 16 bars long and only had a right hand melody.

Tonight, however, that same friend sat down with my melody and in less than ten minutes, came out with a left hand for it.  The funny thing was, when she played it, it actually had the emotional dynamics in it that I wanted.  When I played it, it sounded clinical, must like the subject of a fugue.  Even though I’ve played piano for 25 years, it never occurred to me to explore certain dynamic options…or any, at that.  I was too preoccupied  with how the individual notes sounded together and in succession.

What can I take from this?  Instead of looking at the healing process as a bunch of single events in succession, I need to step back and look at the larger picture.


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