My first piano lesson in 27 years
My trip to Paris last March continues to enrich my life in unexpected ways.
It’s been a wonderful gift to talk to my friend Mo at least once a week since my return. And it’s been a joy to finish my favorite photography project yet. But I hadn’t expected that my time in Paris would also rekindle my love for music.
Few of my friends know that I once aspired to be a concert pianist.
As a kid my favorites were Bach, Chopin and Beethoven, and as a teen I occasionally entered regional competitions. (One year I actually won my division with the bourrée from Bach’s English Suite in A Minor. My prize was to play a recital with about 20 other pianists under Philip Brunelle’s baton at Northrop Auditorium.)
But when I turned 17, I went away to college and I stopped playing.
I’ve dabbled a bit since then, and I’ve composed a couple of short pieces. But it wasn’t until my three weeks in Paris that I really missed the piano.
One night I heard my favorite street musician play Yesterday, and it brought back a flood of memories. Suddenly, I was seven or eight years old again, living in Peru, and trying to plink out the song’s complex harmonies by ear on my parents’ Yamaha.
I felt just as clumsy a few days ago when I tried again.
As they say in Paris, je me suis trompée une fois. Eh … voilà.
Before I knew it, I was taking a tentative, ham-handed, somewhat rushed stab at Beethoven:
I was surprised by how alien and wooden my fingers felt, and by how foreign the notes looked on the page. Still, it felt good to be playing again.
Long story, short: Tonight I had my first piano lesson in 27 years. It’s back to scales and arpeggios and the dreaded Schmitt Preparatory Exercises for the Piano.
But it’s also back to doing something I once loved … thanks to the city I most love.
I really should go to Paris more often.
Filed under: How to ..., Minnesota, Music, On this day in history, Paris | 9 Comments
Tags: Paris, Paris busker, Paul McCartney, piano lessons, postaday2011, Yesterday