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Posts Tagged ‘Memories’

As I mentioned in an early post, I’m having issues with my creative juices re: happiness and all.  So I snagged this idea from Let it Blurt’s wonderful post about musical adventures.

It reminded me of a long lost love of mine, that has a special place in my heart.

Piano.

Ahh. Just typing the word reminds me of the special times I’ve had with that instrument.

I haven’t played in years.

I can still remember how it feels to run my fingers along the ivory keys.  I still remember exactly which keys were chipped on the old upright that overpowered my living room.

I can still remember the way my old piano smelled. The way I used to spin round and round for hours on the first stool I had, instead of practicing.  The way the new bench my dad got me overflowed with books and sheet music from its storage compartment and used to always rub against my legs.  The way the sheets of music slid off the wood as I played.  The way I used the upright area as a secret hiding spot for random things.  And mostly, the way I felt as I played.

I began piano at five years old.  Through the years, I had a love hate relationship with it.  I loved to play, but hated to practice.  I didn’t like my teacher all that much, and therefore lacked the motivation to impress her.  Her teaching style was unusual and awkward.  She wasn’t very focused on the technical part, which in the end had some negative and positive results with my style.

The negative part? To this day, I still have to rhyme ‘Every good boy deserves fudge‘ if someone asks me to name a note.  Seriously, if someone says to me,

Play a G and B,’

I’d be like,

‘Uhm… hold on.  Every…. good… okay G… Every good boy… okay B….

The positive part?  In lacking the technical skills, I learned to sight read very quickly.  I am an artist and quite a visual person, so I memorized the picture of each note to match the appropriate sounds and keys accordingly.  This resulted in my ability to sight read like a champ.  I can generally play a piece of music quite well that I’ve never seen, after going through it once.  I also polished this skill with my hatred for practicing before a lesson.  All week I would play what I wanted, and then the day before my lesson, I would learn the song I was supposed to.  This came in very handy over the years.

At one point my dad began lessons.  He is also a musician and played guitar in a number of bands when he was younger (I am constantly reminded of this).  We share the same love for musical instruments.  I remember having to do duets with him.  He is an excellent guitar player, but let’s just say, lacks a bit of grace while playing piano.

I’ll never forget the way we’d squish together on the bench, and I’d freak out when he would bang away, timing off, while we tried to piece together something half decent for the next lesson.  I’ll never forget the way his thick fingers would hit two keys instead of one, followed by random mutters of ‘jesus christ.’  My dad eventually stopped with the lessons, and I was on my own again with my love.

Eventually, I stopped the lessons also, mostly because I really couldn’t be bothered with my teacher anymore.  I thought that would be the end of the road for me, but interestingly enough, it only increased my love for playing.  I bought endless amounts of books, and taught myself page in and page out.  I played more than I ever had.

My favourite genre to play is classical, preferably, Sonatas and Sonatinas.  I can still hum entire Sonatas in my head.  I love the way the piece tells a story.  I love the way I can pick a piece depending on my mood.  Happy, sad, angry… whatever. I also fell in love with playing anything Beatles.  My dad literally had hundreds of sheets of Beatles songs for guitar, which I adapted for piano.

Playing piano was my outlet.  I would sit for hours on end, lose track of time, and just play, play, play.  I’ve always had an issue playing in front of people.  This probably stemmed from the fact that my teacher never pushed it on me, so it was never something I was comfortable with.

It’s very private for me, just the piano and I.

In high school I had a super cool music teacher, and took his classes, be it guitar, voice, piano… every year.  I took the piano class knowing full well that it would be an easy A for me.  Once he found this out, he let me sit in the corner with my headphones, and learn whatever pieces I felt intrigued by.  Instead of the mandatory tests and exam, my exam was to play Imagine in front of the entire school during an assembly.  Playing the song was no problem for me, but in front of the school was one of the most nerve racking things I’ve ever done.  Luckily I had a choir backing me up, so it wasn’t so horrible.

One summer I worked at a historical site.  There was a piano forte in the officer’s quarters that I had to play for guests as they strolled through.  I loved it, although, a piano forte does not have the standard 88 keys, which would frustrate me when I wanted to twittle away at my favourite pieces.  These pieces obviously were not ‘period’ for the site, so I could only play them when there were no guests around.

I moved away from home for college and missed my piano with a passion.  One time I came home for a visit, and the piano was gone.  My dad had disposed of it as he and my step-mom were looking for a new house, and did not want to deal with moving it and/or didn’t feel it fit with the decor.  I was shocked.

That piano was a part of me, and now it was gone.  I didn’t even know.  It was like losing a friend. I wondered how my dad, a fellow musician, could just do that.  I wondered what it would feel like if he came home and his guitars were gone.

It was like a part of me was missing, gone, forever. I mourned for a while, and eventually decided that once I could gather up the cash, I would buy one myself.

Since I move around  like a travelling roadshow, an upright piano is not a practical option.  So I thought about getting a digital keyboard.  Not those outrageous ones with all of the buttons.  All that I need is an on/off switch, pedals, volume and 88 keys.  At the time I was in school and was unable to afford this luxury.  Prices have come down since, but I’ve still managed to find something else more important or urgent.

To this day, when ever I hear that unmistakable sound, my heart melts and I drift off to dream land.  Whether it be recorded or live.  Just a few weeks ago I went somewhere for brunch where a man was playing.  I stood there, frozen in awe of his talent, and of course, a tad jealous that he was playing and I was not.

He glanced over, and I swear he could see it in my eyes.

My longing.  My dreams.

One of these days, I will reunite with my long lost love of those 88 keys.

One of these days…

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Randomness, if you will:

I stole, and still have the last basketball uniform I wore in high school. It’s still as comfy and shiny as it was back then. One of the last games of my last year, the buzzer went off while the ball was in my hands. We only needed 2 points. I choked and didn’t shoot. Even though I did quite well that game, I was so angry at myself that I whipped the ball over my shoulder without looking. It hit a girl from the winning team in the face. I apologized, but secretly it made me feel better.

I often dream of living somewhere else, no matter where I’m living.

I love the water and all water related activities, except for diving. I get anxious just thinking about an oxygen tank.

I over analyze everything, sometimes to the point where I analyze my analysis. It’s annoying, and I don’t know how to stop.

I’m always listening to music, everywhere. When there’s no music, I feel like something is missing.

Michael Jordan was my idol growing up. I had all of the paraphernalia – shoes, hats, jackets, hoodies. I still question if he’s human.

I’ve learned the hard way that there’s not always a next time.

Today is Canada Day. I love being Canadian.

I always wished for a sister. Now that I sort of have one (yay for blended families), I wish we lived closer.

I give great advice to others, but have a hard time following it myself.

I used to call the operator at 5am when I was a kid. Seriously. It got to the point where they spoke to my parents and asked what was wrong with me. Before I would call, I would climb the counters and eat all the goodies I could find. In my house, that was fruit flavoured Tums and Flinstone vitamins. That could explain the stomach issues I had later.

I can make a meal out of anything, literally.

I wasn’t allowed to chew gum until I was 11 or 12. Instead, I would sift through my mom’s purse, and chew her nicorettes.

I used to be terrified of butterflies. I thought that since they had wings, they also had stingers. I would literally run inside the house screaming if I saw one. To this day, I still flinch when I see one. Years later, I got a job at the Butterfly Conservatory (sort of). They royally screwed me over, so I wrote a very professional, but harsh letter. This caused much chaos and a file on me as thick as a novel. They banned me from the butterflies.

I can still remember the way the air smells in Barbados.

I get angry when I don’t get what’s owed to me. Specifically when it concerns money. Years ago, one place I worked for made a major mistake and told me to just wait until my next pay, which was impossible. I refused to leave the office without them giving me the entire amount in petty cash. They did.

I feel like my clock is tick, tick, ticking away, faster than I can handle.

I find politics interesting and annoying at the same time.

My unmentionables have been scattered across Grantley Adams airport parking lot in Barbados. My suitcase came out of the luggage claim, flattened like a pancake and saran wrapped together. It fell apart in the parking lot and random people had to bring me my bras and underwear.

I’m not confrontational and let things slide too often.

I’m awkward, most of the time.

My grandparents used to have a cupboard full of goodies for the grandchildren. Mostly cookies, candies, chocolate and the like. I was the only weird one whose goodies included dill pickles and beets.

I’m always the ‘cool’ girl, but never the girl who gets the guy.

When I was a kid, I woke up a lot to my dad and cousin laughing, singing and banging on the piano at 3am.

I don’t know where I’m going.

I remember a good majority of my dreams. I still remember dreams I had when I was young, just as vividly. Whenever I dream about being in a building, no matter what the situation, the building ends up being my elementary school gym. Always. Once and only once, I was able to concentrate hard enough to continue a dream I had from the night before.

I can’t guess someone’s age correctly to save my life.

I’m told there’s still a plaque of me in my old elementary school from when I drew the Niagara Transit Mascot, Floppy the Transit Hound. I wanted to call him Flippy, but they thought it sounded like the dog was losing his mind. I felt bad when I won because I thought I didn’t try as hard as everyone else. I won a bike, a pizza party, and got to be on the cover of ‘Transit Topics’. He’s still kickin’ to this day:

I daydream too much for my own good.

Painting, drawing, writing and playing piano are the only things that I feel completely comfortable and relaxed doing.

I spent a lot of time at my Nana and Papa’s growing up. There was a park across the street that I was allowed to play in, but I was never allowed to go around the rest of the neighbourhood. I had nightmares about what it was like ‘on the other side.’

I still haven’t fixed my toilet.

When I was young, I would get up super early on Christmas morning, unwrap all of my presents, and neatly wrap them back up again before anyone woke up.

I obviously think a lot about the past and my childhood, and still can’t figure out why.

Children continually amaze me. I want my own someday, but am scared of the thought of mini me’s.

Sometimes I wish my dreams were reality, and reality was just a dream.

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