Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sensitive Geek MAN: Piano forte

There is a residual part of me that hangs on to the belief that it is important that I learn to play the piano. I think this mostly comes from my undergraduate work in music. Piano was a rather import aspect of that time, and I never really thought that I learned it well enough. I know that since then I have let my mediocre talents slide into the abysmal.

We have a piano in our house. It is the instrument that I grew up on, that I originally learned to play on.  My parents gave it to us when we bought a house. My wife plays beautifully, which I love. However, she has never really taken to the traditional piano technique. She plays by ear and is self-taught. She is one of those people who can just sit down and play. I have even tested her, letting her listen to songs I know she has never heard before and seeing if she can replay them; she always succeeds.

Meanwhile, when i sit down to play the piano, I have to take the slow way around. I can read music, which she cannot, but I do not understand the keyboard the way that she does. So I slowly cobble notes and chords together, building a song in a plodding, frustrating manner. A song that she, after hearing it once, could put together with little difficulty.

There is really no reason for me to play the piano. I like the instument, but there is no practical use. I don't need it for my job, or any of my extracurriculars. It is literally a hold over from childhood and college. Yet it sits in our living room and I want to be able to sit and play something beautiful on it. I want to redeem all those hours I spent practicing, all the money that was spent on lessons and on the piano itself. I hold out little hope that I ever will.

My daughter shows some burgeoning interest in the piano.  She is too young to really start with it, but I see that it fascinates her. I hold hope in check, as I do not want to pressure her into playing, but I secretly hope that she takes to it and loves it and accomplishes the things I never could. It will, in a sense, redeem my trifling efforts, since it will have been my haggard relationship with the keys that first introduces her to it.

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