Expecto Patronum


For my 11th birthday I was given this piano. Quite extravagant i guess. I’d been having keyboard lessons for a while, and had progressed to piano, and they keyboard did not seem to be sufficient any longer. I was SO excited! My mum also made me a birthday cake shaped as a grand piano!

In a small 3 bed semi-detached houses a piano took up quite a lot of space. This also meant that there wasn’t really anywhere anyone could go to avoid the music – or noise! My brother knows this far too well, as I may have had tendency to ‘need’ to practice when he was trying to watch TV. 

When I was having lessons I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the piano. I loved playing, but I was happy to just play stuff that I knew rather than having to practice techniques, scales, new pieces etc… I guess I wasn’t a fan of thinking. There are still pieces now that I sit down and play off by heart, rather than learning new ones.

I missed my piano at uni, and although I had a keyboard it just wasn’t the same. I would go out of my way to find a piano to play. I would often be in the chapel just simply playing.

When the husband and I moved back to canterbury we were moving in to a house with space for a piano. My brother was more excited than me. This instrument which had tortured him so much would be gone. His daughter had already discovered that at granny and grandads she could bang something that made lots of noise. At least this meant that he was willing to help with the packing, as it meant he wanted to have the job of pushing the piano on to the van!

This is our 12th year in Canterbury and the piano has stood gathering dust. I’ve occasionally played if I had to rehearse for something, but on the whole it’s been an additional shelf! I missed it when I didn’t have it but when I had it ignored it. Until a couple of months ago.

I was reading a book which had a chapter about spiritual pathways. The one way that came out most highly for me was worship. This was both the way in which I connected most with God, but also how I may help others. This really challenged me, I then went home opened up the piano and have played regularly since.

I generally play and sing worship songs, mainly playing chords rather than the tune, but the power and effect it has, has been amazing. There was one day when I had had a rubbish day, and it literally felt like I had had all the joy sucked out of me, like a dementor. I got home, opened up the piano, and spent about 40 minutes playing and singing. The problems hadn’t gone away but there was a sense of peace. My piano was my patrons, my protection.

The other day a friend suggested this was because no words were needed. Sometimes we are lost for words, but with songs the words have already been written.

The husband and I have a differing opinion on worship. He prefers new songs so that he focuses on the words, whereas I prefer songs I know so that I don’t have to focus on the words, but get carried away. 

I have always loved playing the piano but never enjoyed practicing. I’m not sure what it is about it, but I love it, and it is good for me. I don’t have to think I just play and sing. This pathway will often result in tears, as well as great joy and volume. 

In my last blog I spoke about missing things because I was on autopilot but I think there are also times where it is only through being so familiar with something, such as words or music, that we can truly immerse ourselves in the experiences and all that that brings.

I’m sure there’s a lot more I could explore there and probably will, all I need to know now is that although I may not be able to carry my piano around to protect me all day every day. My piano is there to envelope me, immerse me, and protect me from dwelling in the darkness and providing a shield of light and joy.

What’s your patronus?

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