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Posts Tagged ‘talent’

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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