Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Not a Happy Hour of Piano-ing

My evening didn't turn out quite like I'd planned. I rushed all over town after work running errands and getting a ton of stuff done. I scarfed down my dinner in no time so that I might have an hour free tonight to sit at a piano again. Having a small keyboard in my apartment isn't nearly the same as a real piano, and it doesn't cost me anything to play the pianos on campus, so I went. I invited a friend along knowing that he's interested in learning to play, and I grabbed some easier music so that he might be willing to play too. Plan thwarted.

Another of our mutual friends joined us (me?)--and don't get me wrong, I really like him, and I know he's a fantastic musician. That's kind of my problem. When I sit down at a piano, I play the songs the way I want to play them. I play them with wrong notes and horrible rhythm and incorrect form... I'm usually alone, and that's how I want to play the songs. As a classically trained pianist, I think it's my right as a musician to determine how I want the song to sound. If I wanted to play the song with proper form and the correct sound, I can try. If I wanted someone standing behind me tapping out the rhythm with a ruler or pencil, I'd pay for lessons. But I don't want to be corrected or fixed or reprimanded for playing something the way I want to play for me.

So this friend--truly a great person--made me uncomfortable. He stole my moment of happiness that I'd been looking forward to all day. I know I have the ability to make things less awkward for myself, but still...

I'm not a great piano player. Knowing scales and knowing what the notes are doesn't make me good. I am horrible at sight reading. And I hate practicing. But I love to play, and I try to play well sometimes. So when I see or hear someone playing a piano with such ease, it hurts. It's hard for me to listen. I feel insecure with my ability, and I cringe when I attempt to follow their talent with my own...

It is my goal to never let another person feel like that when they play in front of me. I will not judge someone for not knowing a scale or mode or clef or rhythm. And while I might help them learn, I won't solicit help (especially while they're in the middle of a song and aren't specifically asking for my instruction).

I want my hour back.

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