Starry Night in Adult Piano Lessons

Jennifer Savitch introduces and then plays two songs she has learned during the first three months of her adult piano lessons.

As a charter pilot who often flies at nighttime, Jennifer Savitch has experienced the energizing sensation of crossing the dividing line in the skies between day and night.  That’s how she views her decision to begin adult piano lessons in June of this year, as crossing the boundary into a new kind of musical existence.

What was the catalyst for your decision to take piano lessons along with your two sons?

I felt like I should have played the piano more as a child. I started around my son Ethan’s age, which is eight, and I took lessons for about a year and a half with Mrs. White in Ohio. The only reason I stopped formal lessons is because I got heavier into sports, which took up a lot of time. But I never really left the piano until I moved out of my childhood house. I had forgotten a lot of the notes, so I would just improvise.

This past spring my Mom said that she wanted to send me my childhood piano. It was such a wonderful gift, yet it was intimidating at the same time. The piano was supposed to be for my kids: so says Grandma Judy.

When I called up Ron, our new piano teacher, to schedule lessons for my two boys, he said, “You mentioned you had played when you were little. This is your childhood piano. Are you taking lessons too?” The word “yes” came out of my mouth. I wasn’t planning on it. But it was a convincing yes.

I’m thrilled with my lessons. I practice at night. I appreciate the quietness of the nighttime and the depth of it. I can accomplish so much at night, whereas I feel like I’m more distracted during the day, that I want to give my time to the house or another hobby or kids or husband or lunches or whatever. But at night, it’s just me.

Tell us about your career as a charter pilot and your experiences flying at night.

Until a couple of years ago, I flew Lears, the 20’s and the 30 series, and the Citations, the 500 series. I was a Captain in Citations at Teterboro airport in New Jersey.

One time there was a meteor shower when I was at 40,000 feet. It was jaw-dropping amazing. Every pilot in the sky got on and said, hey, can you guys see that? And after everyone commented, there was just dead silence. We were all checking out all the stars. There were thousands and thousands of them.

One of my favorite trips ever was when I was flying a Lear 35 series towards the east. In the middle distance, we saw a dark area. We were in the perfect time to cross over from day into the night. I looked out and right across the wing it got dark fast. All of a sudden we were in stars. That crossover point was just beautiful.

In my lessons, once I could touch the pedals and play sharp keys, it was so exciting. I felt like there were so many options, like the blues. The crossover point was there.

What are your dreams for the piano?

I would like to have a concert. And I’d like a piece that is really involved with the pedal and sharps because that’s very challenging for me. And I’d like my family there. I’d like to get over a little bit of stage fright. I play a little differently when somebody else is standing there, whether it’s Ron my piano teacher, or somebody else. My dream is to be able to do what I’m uncomfortable with. That’s part of the excitement in life, is to do whatever you’re uncomfortable with, to make it comfortable, because then you learn something.

It’s the nighttime when nobody’s here when I feel like I play the best.

Copyright © 2018 Nancy M. Williams. All Rights Reserved.

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