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Archive for January 27th, 2012

Day Twenty Six: The Piano

β€œThe Piano ain’t got no wrong notes.”
― Thelonius Monk ―

Today my childhood left after sixteen years of being best friends. My Piano was the strongest aspect of my whole life, through thick and thin, that offered me the biggest and most valuable escape from reality. I shall miss it. I will however, never stop playing. I have a rather fancy keyboard – full keys and everything – that will soon get the ultimate bashing. Ironically also today I was booked for a Wedding that I am going to be the Photographer at – to play the Piano as well. It made the departure of the old girl rather more difficult than it could have been. Especially because hours before it left I was hurriedly testing out the old fingers on Ave Maria and other such melodies as requested by the Bride to be.

My first ever ‘real’ piece of music that I learnt was Morning Has Broken. I remember playing it in assembly at school. God how embarassing those days were! Playing the Piano was a gift that I didn’t have. I had to force it and I had the strictest teacher in the whole wide world. Mrs Hodgkiss. Or, as we often called her – Miss Trunchball. (Remember Matilda?) She was the loveliest lady really, but she lived and breathed classical. She drove me through grades 1 – 3 at distinction level, had me play at art festivals and on stage at the local theatre. It was an experience, I was confident in those days.

After many years of such torture and valuable teachings I moved on to Roz. She was the best. She let me bring whatever music I wanted to the classes and taught me how to play. I was soon belting out music from The Lion King, Pop Hits and much more. My Grades slipped. I took 4 and 5 getting just a merit – but I was falling in love with the Piano and to me that was the most important thing.

When I was fifteen I started playing for a local group, so I added wartime music and the ‘oldies’ to my extensive repertoire. I stayed with them for years until the group disbanded. Those were some amazing years, we played all over the place. I landed my first solo ‘Gig’ playing at a British Legion Christmas dinner – I was paid too!

Then as I got older I started playing more here and there, for a local dance troupe, for the visually impaired club, and on pretty much any piano I could find. Then I was comissioned by a friend to play her down the Aisle at her Wedding. Des’ree’s version of Kissing You (from Romeo and Juliet) would be the last piece you’d expect to have a bride walk down the aisle (magnificent staircase) to…but my God it worked.

Last year I managed to find a free Piano for the sheltered housing place that I was working at. It was a complex of flats for older people with low, medium and high care needs. A Piano breaks the ice tremendously, so I managed to get one donated and shifted into the dining room there. The first Fish and Chip afternoon was accompanied with sounds of the wartime music and I felt a tremendous sense of pride being able to give that gift to the somewhat nervous residents.

Music got me through the rainy days, the Mondays, the tearful days and the stressful days where it was so damn easy to just give up and not bother with a thing. The Piano drove me. I only had to pick up a book of sheet music and I was itching to try it out. I had a huge purpose.

So why get rid of the one thing that kept all that going? Because in reality a Piano in a bedroom is just not the perfect situation. I had it in here for sixteen years and have always had tremendous allergies to dust. The Piano stored dust as lovingly as it stored melodies, that was the sad truth. Additionally I urged myself on with the promise of getting a cosy armchair to curl up with a book in. I knew it had to go. The icing on the cake was my parents blessing (since they’d brought it for six year old me) and the promise that when I had my own place they’d buy me another. Hint?

So I decided to give it away. When I was six years old I never dreamt I would have a piano to practise those horrific scales and arpeggios on. I was sent to the neighbours house whilst my parents had a coffee machine delivered. It turned out the coffee machine was my beautiful Chappell Upright Piano. Love at first sight. I knew now that I wanted someone to have it who could make the best use of it. Today it went to a young girl who is desperate to play and I couldn’t have picked a more deserving person.

And that is the blog for today – the pictures I took this morning and when the Piano was being taken away by the very company who brought it in all those years ago. I bid it farewell, there were some tears – a lot of tears, and that was that. I’ve learnt it now, it will never ever leave me, and for that I am eternally grateful.

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