Monday, March 15, 2010

Re-Tinkling the Ivories

I played piano from the ages of 8 to 16. Unlike the kids you often see on TV and in movies, I actually wanted to learn it. If my memory is correct, I asked Mom if she would put me in piano lessons.

The things we don't appreciate in childhood. I enjoyed piano, but I never practiced as much as I needed to in order to excel at it. Piano lost out not to sports or TV, but to my #1 hobby - school! By age 16, I'd had it with piano. Super competitive, I was tired of being a merely average piano student.

In the intervening years, I have hardly touched a piano. But every now and then - like when I'm at a concert - I regret having given it up. When I got my first job after undergrad, I even dreamed of buying a second-hand piano and taking lessons again. But I never did, partly because I wasn't settled. How could I buy a piano for an apartment? Where would I be in 5 years? (DC, it turns out.)

Well, like I said in my last blog, I'm almost 30 and I'm still not settled! I still live in an apartment. I still don't know where I'll be living in 5 years. Just this past week, I sat down at a keyboard for the first time in years. I was with some classmates at our friend Everthon's apartment. He is quite musically talented and owns a keyboard (a nice one - not the '80s variety I'm sure you're picturing). At his urging, I sat down at it, but the only notes I've retained are the first bar of Fur Elise. Still - between hearing him and playing a few keys myself, it made me want to "re-tinkle" the ivories. Everthon tells me I can come by his place and practice every week if I want.

I'm going to take him up on that. As it turns out, a lot has changed in the 14 years since I gave up the piano! I've discovered there are "e-keyboards" you can practice on and online exercises to learn notes. I've been practicing the last few days - already my ability to read music is coming back. I can also download and print sheet music, so no more having to buy music books (apparently artists and publishers aren't safe from being ripped off in any capacity). I've already located a bunch of beginner pieces. I'm going to start fresh - I have to remember "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" before I can get back to Mozart.

My ambitions are modest. For now I'd like to be as good as I was when I was about 12. I'd like to be able to play simple arrangements of classical pieces. Who knows? If it goes well, I might just buy myself a second-hand piano without waiting until I'm..... GASP!...... settled.

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