“I wish the Government would put a tax on pianos for the incompetent.” – Edith Sitwell.
Right now, I may well be classed as one of the incompetent, where pianos are concerned. I am at the beginning of a new journey with piano playing, at the age of forty-eight. I have a new keyboard being delivered to me in three or four days. I decided to start, or should I say resume, piano after something like a gap of thirty-seven years, or so. My parents had taken me to a piano tutor in the early 1980’s. Regretfully, today I cannot recall his name, but my tutor was a really kind, young Polish man.
I started to make great progress when, one day, my parents had to explain to me that my tutor had left for Poland. The Solidarity uprising was happening and my tutor had gone home to be a freedom fighter. It was then that my parents disclosed to me the devastating news that my tutor had died. They told me that he had been killed, somehow, in discreet actions surrounding the uprising. I was deeply saddened by this news. I declined the offer my parents made of sending me to a new tutor. Furthermore, I decided that I would not resume piano playing, at all.
Over the years, my decision never sat well with me. I had gone on to learn clarinet, to a basic level and then let that go, for I did not really feel the passion in me fire up in the way that it had always done where piano was concerned. It became a resolve of mine to one day, later in life, resume learning piano. It would seem that time has now arrived.
Over recent weeks, I have been learning to sight read music. It is an ongoing learning process, but I am doing quite well. The Coronavirus ‘lockdown’ situation galvanised me into reflecting how best to spend my time and also has given me space to reflect on quality of life. I just felt strongly that I must seize the moment and start, or perhaps it is fair to say ‘resume’, piano study.
I have a dear friend who also happens to be a music teacher. Her name is Jo. She has very kindly offered me support, at least initially, and guidance with my piano playing. Given the lockdown circumstances, we are having our weekly tuition via Zoom; video call. I am pleased that this is giving Jo an opportunity to practice providing tuition via video link technology.
I will be taking exams in piano; commencing with theory. I am an avid learner and so I feel excited about this, if also a little apprehensive. I’m incredibly excited about the whole prospect and, in particular, about the imminent delivery of the keyboard, sometime mid next week. I will, of course, provide further updates on this aspect my life, in future blog posts.
Do you play a musical instrument? Are you a music teacher who is also trying to deliver lessons via video call technology? Are you using lockdown as an opportunity to practice an existing skill or to develop something new? Do feel free to post a comment below, including details of your own lockdown story and how you are filling your time.
(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2020.