To Sit At My Piano


As a very young child my Aunt’s hands mesmerized me as they moved quickly over the keyboard of  the piano that she won when she was a youngster.  She was very proficient at playing, yet the older she got the more hesitant she was to play.  Although, on Christmas Eve, before we opened our presents I pleaded with her to play for me.  After a bit of goading she went to the Parlor, pulled out the bench and began to play.  It was incredible to see her long fingers reaching so many notes at one time.  The piano came alive with full resonance and body when as she hit the keys.  My father often sat in the Living Room brooding.  My Mother told him to go to the basement and read a book.  Even in childhood he did not like the way my Aunt played and usually wanted to shout, “Tune it down, damn its too loud.”

Then, after my Aunt finished her little concert, my sister played Christmas Carols.  My Mother, Aunt and myself say along as my sister played while my Father remained in the basement.

My sister started piano lessons at an early age.  The piano teacher lived 10 miles away.  After a year I asked if I could also take lessons.  I believe my Father was never happy about my lessons and within a half-year he said that my lessons were over.  My sister continued her instructions for many years with many teachers.   When she practiced my father reacted to her as he did my Aunt.  I think he just didn’t like the piano!!

During the years until I was seventeen I continued to practice piano on my own.  When I left home I no long entertained the urge to continue until  M. gave me an electronic keyboard in the 1980’s.  I played it occasionally, but I never got the hang of it.  Then in 2004 he gave me an electronic piano.  The sound and touch were different from a piano although the white keys beckoned to met. The music produced by my fingers akin to riding in a car on a very bumpy street!  M. said the pauses in my playing were like hiccups.  At the time I was caretaker for my Mother.  She asked I play for her every day.  Her request triggered me to practice and possibly master the Italian songs she loved.   

When we moved to Florida the former owner of our house asked if I wanted to buy the Chickering Baby Grand Piano.  Without hesitation I bought it.  And then, for the price we paid I thought I should take lessons.  For a very short time I had a wonderful teacher until she moved away.  I tried another instructor and did not like her at all.  The cover over the keys remained closed except on rare days when I uncovered the keys and stopped very quickly thinking that it all was useless.

Finally, about a year and a half ago I decided to play the piano each day.   Since then I play a set of songs each day.  Unfortunately, if I go on vacation or can’t play because of some reason (like my shoulder surgery) I find I need to practice even more to get back into acceptable playing.  Needless to say, I am not a great pianist.  I am not a good pianist, nor can I play like my Aunt or my Sister. But, I am a pianist who teaches himself and strives to play without hiccups.  More importantly I love  sitting at a beautiful piano!


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