I’ve rediscovered my piano this winter. It’s been neglected. I had lessons as a child and teenager and made it almost all the way up the 10 grade levels. But as I graduated high school and moved away to go to university, the piano stayed with my parents. I finally had it shipped to Vancouver some time after Jeff and I bought our first place.
For many years, I would only sit down to play once a month for an hour or two. But for a long time I had thought about taking piano lessons again, “one day when I’m older”. Well, I recently decided that I am older. I asked around for recommendations and by January I had found myself a teacher, Jade, whom I visit half an hour a week. I am bringing some old pieces that I played as a teenager and want to relearn, and I found some new pieces that I need to learn from scratch. It’s been so much fun; for the last three months my piano has gotten its biggest workout in three decades!
Jade says that I have preserved my full mobility and could tackle pretty much any piece I feel like playing. I think she might be wrong about that, but I like her positive outlook. And my hands feel stronger and less strained than they have in a few years; piano playing must be good for them.
I am learning to go at the pieces with more confidence and attitude than I ever did as a timid teenager, and that striking a key with panache helps. It also makes small insects scurry and my husband hide in his den. I may be a bit overenthusiastic with pent-up piano-playing, and my newfound love for sifflet satanique as requested by Rossini at about 2:06 in the fun piece above that I am learning. I play mostly during the day, usually at the exact time when small children in my neighbourhood should be napping. With all that hammering on the keyboard, I have somehow thrown the piano out of tune, some keys are getting a bit stuck, and something must be possibly loosening in there because there’s a new tinny sound.
It doesn’t sound all that great, does it? But my point is that going at something with confidence, whether it’s making a mark on paper, or striking a piano key, feels good, even though one may feel hesitant on the inside at first. The confidence starts to follow. Of course, to play the piano with confidence, one should hit the right keys, otherwise it’s pretty obviously misplaced confidence. But so what if there’s a few missed notes?
And when drawing, it’s even easier because nobody can tell you that “this is where your line should have gone”. You are the creator of the drawing, not the interpreter of someone else’s composition.