by Linda Ratcliff
How the musical score of Marie’s life was forever changed …
“I just read your story about how you grew up learning music. You are so very fortunate. I always had it in me too, but I was not allowed to play music until I married my sweet husband, Bill. He bought a piano for me while I was in college in the 70’s, so I could learn and enjoy music with our children.I will never forget how shocked my music professor was that I signed up for “beginners piano lessons” while in college. He simply could hardly tolerate me as I struggled to learn to read the music, and I “barely” made a C just in order to pass the class (I worked very hard). As if that was not enough for him, I “stupidly” told him I was going to come back and play for him someday. He said, “I will be an old man.” This hurt me so much, and I left feeling defeated. Then I went on to my next class, cried as I told a friend how hurt I was, only to find this very nice young gentlemen was listening. He turned to me and said, “Do you want to play seriously, or for fun?” I said, “For fun, because I want to play for our children as they grow.” He said, “I will teach you,” and I started taking lessons with him and he taught me very well.
My youngest son, Keith, learned saxophone in grade/high school and I enjoyed playing with him. He died at the age of 26, and it left me so devastated that I lost all memory of how to play my piano, plus my computer skills that I had studied. I soon realized if I did not find something to do, I was not going to be able to bear life anymore. I then learned to play the mountain dulcimer, which helped me start to go on with my grief (because I could still count to 10).
Then I went to a concert, and Rick Thum was playing his HAMMERED DULCIMER. I got BIT!!! Rick gave me a learning CD, and I went all the way to Bennington, OK, and bought a beautiful Master Works HD. I began taking lessons in Mountain View, AR, and worked hard to learn my beautiful instrument.
Many times I thought about quitting because the HD was so HARD for me. I had to learn to read the notes and chords all over again — but I did not quit. I felt like God was saying: “No, you are not going to quit — I gave you a gift to help you, so keep trying.”
I now enjoy the HD very much and I’m still learning (can’t get enough). So even though I was not so fortunate at a young age, I have at least had this wonderful opportunity. By the way, I had told myself I was too old to begin … and then I said to myself, “What if I don’t try and I live to be 100? Then I will regret that I did not try.” I’m so glad I tried and stayed with it!!”