I began piano lessons when I was 6, didn't practice. No more lessons until I was 9 and promised to practice. Began playing the piano for Sunday School when I was 12, played for the high school chorus. About a ten year hiatus. Got a piano when married, at about age 30, soon was taking daughters to piano lessons. Soon they didn't want to practice and teacher said, "stop wasting my time." Okay, said I, "will you teach me? I'll practice." He heard me play and said, "We start with the C major scale." I practiced and I learned something about music for a change instead of just acquiring dexterity.
My mother told me playing the piano would make me popular in school. It wasn't true. Playing the piano introduced me to classical music, that was multiples better than being popular. I am not a good pianist; I now know how bad I am. But I love playing the piano and try to play regularly. I have always been shy of being overheard by lots of other people in apartment buildings. Some may simply be annoyed, some may know how badly I play. However, it gives me so much pleasure that I do it -- but try not to play too loudly, which is fairly easy since I most enjoy Mozart and Schubert and others who wrote not too difficult sonatas.
Today I was chugging along through a Mozart theme and variations, counting semi-aloud [which makes me feel a little like Glen Gould -- oh! I'm a dreamer!] but getting into some of the speedier variations which was fun. There was a knock on the door. A young woman, who was visiting in the apartment across the hall gushed about what a wonderful pianist I am. I demurred of course. But she believed it. She doesn't know classical music but she knows the notes were raining down rapidly and nothing was very disenate, in fact there was a pretty tune running through it.
It's time for me to stop being shy about playing the piano and being overheard. Time to just enjoy it. I keep telling myself that but I'd really love to be living in a stand alone house where I could play with the doors and windows closed and never think about being heard. It's silly to have reached this august age and still feel any kind of shyness. But, gez! Those variations ought to rip along, in places, twice as fast as I can play them and I've heard recordings in which they do. I do love the piano though. And I won't stop.
ELDER MUSIC: Classical - Various 5 - This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge an...
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