“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


Musings On A Piano

Sunday, February 04, 2007

When I was a kid, growing up in my parents' various homes (we moved a lot), there was always a piano in the house. My dad played drums and my mom played cello and piano, among other instruments. They both loved music, and I grew up surrounded by it.

I started taking violin lessons at a very young age, but never got very good. I can't imagine ever not having a violin, but I never played well, and it wasn't from lack of practice. My hands simply weren't made to be those of a violin virtuoso.

I also played piano, but only took a few lessons from my mom, and never played in public (except for one time which was disastrous!). Even though I wasn't a proficient piano player, I loved to pull out music books and just play and play. I didn't practice, I just played.

There were always many music books and sheet music under the hinged lid of the piano bench. I would pull out whatever I was in the mood for at the time – sometimes a book of 70's and 80's contemporary Christian songs, sometimes it was an old student book, and sometimes it was a book of classical pieces by Back, Mozart, Beethoven, or any of the old classical composers. It was probably torture for my parents to listen because I just muddled through the parts I couldn't play and played horribly out of time while trying to figure out all the notes that my hands should be playing, but I loved it.

Later, as a young adult, I would go to the church (the same one I still attend over 15 years later) at all hours of the night and play. Somehow I had obtained a key. It was still a very small church, my parents were very active members, I was a member of the worship team, and my best friend was the pastor's daughter. I am sure all of these factors played a part in making me "key-worthy".

After being out late at a concert or the local Christian music club with friends, I would drop them all off at home (I was the only one with a car at the time) and then head to the church. It was quiet. There was never anyone there that late at night. I was all alone, and I could just play. I still didn't play well, but there was something peaceful and worshipful and holy about those times, playing alone with my Creator as my only audience.

I haven't had a piano since I left my parents house 14 years ago. I had a small electronic keyboard which I purchased from a friend and it served me very well in some ways, but if you have ever played and loved the piano, you know well that it is just not the same.

This week my parents are giving me a piano. They are moving into a smaller place and can't take the piano with them, so they are giving it to me. It's not fancy, it's a little out of tune, and it may not be in the best of shape, but it's a piano, and I am so excited. My fingers are aching to dance on those keys again, even if they are clumsy and the music stilted and awkward. I will play for me, and no one will hear except the cats, the dog, and God, and I believe that they will all be quite forgiving of my many blunders. Maybe someday, if I practice enough to ward off embarassment, I'll let my hubby hear too.

Next Saturday, she's being delivered. She will probably be horribly out of tune from the move and from disuse, and I won't have her tuned until after we move to the new house, but that's okay. I'm going to have a piano again.

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At 2/04/2007 10:18 PM, Anonymous HolyMama! wrote:

YEA! you made me hope that you were leading up to your getting one!

-a fellow out of practice former child piano player

At 2/05/2007 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote:

Hey! I sneak into the church to play the piano too!

In the dark on Christmas Eve is one of my favorite times ever. Just me. All alone. Before the hoopla starts at home...

Judy - Anybody Home

At 2/05/2007 8:06 PM, Blogger yellojkt wrote:

That sounds so cool. Most pianos just collect dust. I hope you enjoy it. I have no musical talent whatsoever, but I would love to be able to play the piano.

At 2/05/2007 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote:

Wow. You've had a lot of constancy in your life. So much more than me. I wonder how that shapes people over time? Anyway, nice to hear about your new acquisition.

At 2/07/2007 11:15 AM, Anonymous Jan wrote:

I too love to play the piano on my own terms. I have little talent and less patience, but I love "doodling" on the keys. It is centering, relaxing, uplifting. Enjoy your "new" piano!


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