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Eff you, I'm a pianist

General UpdatesKristina PinoComment

When I was a teenager, playing piano was a bit of a chore. I'd been "in it" since before I can remember, and playing the same classical songs over and over to some snippy teacher each week wasn't my idea of a good time. Though I have always enjoyed playing, I didn't like being forced to play certain things, and then learn a repertoire of music chosen for me to be tested by a panel of judges, which would decide then if I was ready to "advance" to bigger and better things.

I've always been good at reading sheet music, and I can play well by ear, so eventually I stopped practicing as much during the week and got by just playing once a week with my piano teacher. Up until my later years in piano playing, I never connected with my teachers. The last one I had, though, was special. She made me love playing, and she let me play the songs I wanted to right alongside the ones I had to learn for the Guild.

I still didn't practice much in between lessons, mostly because by then I simply lost interest in practicing, especially at home. It was too much pressure (I put on myself, obviously) to know people were listening to me stumble through the music.

When it got closer to the big day, the day I'd "graduate" from piano classes, I didn't have a choice but to practice more. I was in college already at this point, and I borrowed the school's pianos whenever people weren't in there for class or vocal lessons. I practiced a little at home when I was alone. I took the test. I don't remember whether I passed or not. It just wasn't important to me that some judge from some Guild decide whether I'm good enough to say I'm a pianist or know enough to be able to teach others.

It's been years since then. I've hardly touched the piano since that day, and due to my piano teacher having an accident at home which left her a little addled for a while, lessons ended abruptly. After some time passed, I decided to visit with her when I found out she'd recovered most of her memories. If I couldn't play piano at her house, I would at least sit and talk with her. It was some of the most rewarding time I've ever spent in my life.

Recently, I've been frustrated by having spare time. Even though I'm ready to take off to Japan in a few months, I still feel some sort of guilt at working freelance and part time while I wait. Like I should be doing something more productive with my time. So my solution has thus been to work more freelance hours, and read more books. And write about whatever books I read on this blog. Of course, it was a good idea at the time.

The next step in my grand plan to improve my life has been to try and get up earlier in the morning. Since my job doesn't really have any strict hours, I can get in mid-morning, or even mid-day and get my work done at the office, then come home and slave away at the computer. In the past month or so, by changing my eating habits a little bit (dinner by 6, fruits in the morning, more gluten-free or raw things), I've lost more than a full size in clothing, and I've been slowly shifting my hours earlier in the morning. It's great! Except, with more hours in my "day," I've found I once again have some free time I have to fill in with something.

Working and reading is well and good, but there comes a point when a person needs to stop for the day. And I'm not much of a couch potato. I also get headaches easily, and after staring at a screen working most of the day, I haven't been much into gaming lately. It's unfortunate, and I hope to shake off my "guilt" and just work less. Then I could game more. And other things I like to do, like draw or paint. And rekindle my long-lost love for the piano.

The past few weeks I've jumped back into playing piano. I'm not playing any of the classical stuff, though. What's the point in doing what felt like a chore 6 years ago? No, I'm on to bigger and better things. I'm playing whatever I feel like. I'm playing Disney tunes like "When You Wish Upon a Star" and themes from Final Fantasy games (thanks to Michael Gluck, I've got plenty of lovely arrangements to choose from), and anything else that strikes my fancy. Most importantly, I'm doing it at any hour of the day, regardless of who is home to listen. (This isn't to say I won't ever play classical music again. I'm just not doing it for now.)

It used to bother me so much, when I was younger, to practice piano at home. I hated playing and knowing that other people in the house could hear me messing up, playing the same few bars over and over again while I try to learn the notes, or play some complicated music excruciatingly slow. I freaked myself out of playing when I thought about how whoever was home might be judging me. But as I've gotten older, and bolder, and free-er, I've discovered that I really don't care any more. Let them hear it, and let them judge me. At the very least, nobody will be able to deny that I'm sitting there, putting in the time to learn new things. Eff you, I'm a pianist.

I don't think things will change in terms of my book-reading and -blogging habits. I'm just going to work piano back in because it makes me happy (it's also doing wonders for my wrist re-strengthening and recovery). I'll probably update every once in a while to talk about what I'm playing, share resources and maybe... unlikely, but maybe, even share videos of myself playing. Is that something that people like to watch or hear? Either way, I felt like it's something I'd share with whoever reads my blog on a regular basis. I put myself into the things I write often, but it's been a while since I dropped something fully personal in here. I hope it made you feel warm and fuzzy, or something like it.