I love the piano. I love music. Music is my perpetual, loyal friend. It got me through the rough angsty years of my youth and helps me cry through breakups and sad times. It makes me want to dance and move and brings me to reminisce on old times.
When I was about 11 years old my parents started me on piano lessons. We rented a piano for me to practice with for a while and then my dad scoured the papers for a cheap piano to buy. (This was in the 90s pre-internet). I remember going to someone’s house probably in the third ward and picking up this giant upright piano for $200. Playing the piano was wonderful and I was a natural. When I played, the music came from my fingertips and I felt as if I was a part of the music, like the sounds and emotions are coming from your soul and out through the piano. Eventually I became good enough to sightread well and got lazy about practicing. Once my teacher told me she could tell I had practiced when I hadn’t touched the piano in a week. At that point I felt like maybe there wasn’t anything else I could learn from her. She never taught me theory, just notes and we were just going from song to song. I didn’t feel challenged and I didn’t know what else there would be so I decided to quit. Piano lessons were expensive and my parents hardly had the money for it. So I thought I could save my parents the money and just keep playing piano on my own. I still remember when I asked my parents to quit. I thought I was being a considerate and prudent daughter.
Now I wish I hadn’t but what’s done is done. In fact I regretted it a lot. Eventually around sophomore or junior year of highschool I gathered the courage to ask for piano lessons again and my mom obliged. She found a teacher from the UH Moorse School of Music and I picked it up where I left off and was at peace again. For a while I felt like this is something I want to do for the rest of my life and wanted to study piano in college. But about 6 weeks after I reunited with the piano my dad found out my mom was spending the money and got mad. I told him I wanted to study piano in school and he became livid. He gave me the impracticality lecture and told me I wouldn’t make it. I probably wouldn’t have gotten into college as a music major with only 3 years of piano under my belt, but sometimes dreams start late. At my last piano lesson my teacher told me it was a shame I had to stop because I had talent and the tears started flowing. Who knows what would have happened if my dad had been supportive, but he wasn’t so that was the end of that.
You know, I also played the clarinet for 7 years, but found it hard to love playing it. I think it’s because in a piano you are both the melody and the harmony, the main stage and the support all in one. Playing the piano felt more whole. I never fogot the feeling, and in college I took a piano for non-majors course and studied under a PhD student. He taught me more about piano than I thought you could know: musicality, control of piano and forte in the right and left hands, theory. He told me I had talent too. After that semester I didn’t have anymore time for piano because I was busy getting the degree that was practical.
When I graduated from college in 2008, I knew the first thing I wanted to do was pick up piano again. I was making my own money, so no one could stop me. By that time, the piano my dad bought for me was in such disrepair that it was less expensive to buy a new one altogether. I searched craigslist for affordable pianos, visited a few, and settled on a 10 year old Roland electric piano that didn’t need tuning. My mom again found me another piano teacher through friends, this time a nice Russian lady who had been teaching for over 30 years. I studied under her for about 3 months when she went on vacation and never called me after she came back. I called her once and didn’t pursue it because I didn’t really get along with her anyway. After that I got engrossed in cycling and my piano collected dust. Over the past 6 years I would sporadically teach myself by listening to youtube videos for help. I’ve never progressed too far and in general I’m not so disciplined that I can learn on my own but I couldn’t give it up. When I moved to LA the piano came with me and has been sitting in my room collecting dust. Last year I tried to give it away because I felt like it deserved to be played. I was asking around Bikerowave if anyone knew of a school that would like an electric piano and my friend Don said, “I think you should play your piano instead of giving it away.” The words stuck with me and I played for about 3 weeks before dropping off again.
I clean the dust of my piano weekly, but right now all it does is hold my stuff like a table. Normally I like to shed anything I havent used within the year, but I still haven’t been able to let go of my piano. I don’t really know what I’m holding onto…maybe it’s hope, maybe it’s the dream, maybe it’s pride. I’m not really sure.
/edit 14 feb 2015
Today I gave my piano to Mic. He is starting piano lessons and get this we both want to just play piano in fancy places when we retire. Have you ever walked through Nordstrom’s and just felt so sophisticated? Well it probably helped that there was someone playing beautiful music in the background. Being that person would make me conent in my older years. So Mic needed a piano and I had one I wasn’t using and thats that. I played it one more time last night. Here’s to a future with music.