Saturday, December 18, 2010

Back to Tickling the Ivories

Recently I've return to playing the piano after more than a 15-year hiatus. This is a significant event for me. Since I thought I left that life 20 years ago.

Throughout my years in elementary through high school, I was known in schools for my piano playing. I accompanied for years for choirs in schools, played Catholic masses every week for 6 years, even played for two weddings for my high school teachers, which were supreme honors. My reputations was hinged on my playing, and unsurprisingly, my head got pretty big in those years.

Then came college away from home. I had picked a practical field to major in, but of course I have to check out the music department. There I heard freshmen students practicing, and I was floored by how good they were, and more importantly, how much they were better than me. I realized I wasn't as talented as I, or people around me thought. But I wasn't as crushed as I thought I would. After years of stressful piano exams, competitions and reputation-maintaining, I was ready to move on and explore other interests. And eventually I changed my major to a field I'd never get a job in, and had a great time taking fun classes with hefty tuition paid by my dad.

From time to time I'd stopped by the practice rooms and banged out a few pieces, but that bought me very little joy. Because unless I managed to sneak into an unlock room with a grand piano for graduate students, the rooms for the "mortals" are stuffy tiny boxes with falling apart unknown brand pianos, with sticky and out of tune keys. The walls are filled with graffiti, either of pretentious poetry, or lusting of the department's only cute professor. I don't think I was ever there for more than a half hour at a time.

Then come graduation, jobs, moving, getting married, having kids. In other words, life. I didn't have access to a piano all those time, and even on the back of my mind I always thought I'd get a piano someday, I never thought I'd go back to it as intense as it is.

to be continued...

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