The mass e-mail was terse and to the point. I have a daughter who is starting piano lessons, it read. Is anyone interested in selling an old upright piano?
So for what would be the first time in years, I sat down today and played the piano. The piano and I have always have some sort of love-hate relationship. I love to play the piano. I just hated to practice.
I started playing the piano at the age of six under the tutelage of Mrs. Zilberman in her North York home. Eleven years and three piano teachers later, I’m taking my grade 10 exam. I remember preparing half-heartedly for that exam: it was the end of May of 2000, one month left in high school, worrying about university responses possibly lost in the mail, or final final exams. And a few weeks before a departure for Shad. Piano exam? Frankly, I don’t remember practicing at all.
I remember walking out of that exam with a sense of release, a sense of freedom. Never having to practice that goddamned instrument anymore. I also remember passing with honours — barely, as just one mark lower would require me to take supplemental exams before attempting ARCT. Hah, ARCT. Yeah right.
And I didn’t touch my piano for a few weeks… months… years.
So for what would be the first time in years, I sat down today and played the piano. A little Chopin, some Bach, and little Brahms. Some hacky attempts at Rachmaninov. Some Norah Jones, for good measure. I love to play the piano. But my fingers are brittle and slow, now adapted and practiced for the keyboard of a computer rather than of a piano.
So I sit there for an hour, hammering out bar after bar, repeating left hand until perfected, and then right. I get out the wind-up metronome, but discover that it’s broken. For the first time in years (and probably years while I was still playing), I’m really practicing. And hey, it’s not so bad. I manage to play a Chopin prelude almost up to speed. I sight-read the first few bars of a Beethoven Sonata. I finish, like I used to, with a rousing rendition of God Save the Queen, with powerful thundering chords that resonate through the house.
Me? Sell my piano?
I took a picture, my piano and I. We’ve always had some sort of love-hate relationship, and it looks like we’ve finally made our peace.