Thursday, May 26, 2016

ode to piano

I started taking piano lessons again about a year and a half ago from a girl who lived in my apartment complex and also happened to have a bachelor's degree in piano performance and could come to my apartment for lessons. It was a great set up.

I stopped taking lessons when I was 16, but played the piano and organ in church and for choirs, so it was still a part of my life. But taking lessons forces you to practice harder than casual once-a-week piano sessions and to have accountability to someone for your practice.

I love music and I love the piano. I am a big music nerd and if I could switch places with anyone, it would probably be John Williams, although I would miss Brett. But at least I could see the Star Wars movies before they came out! But I digress.

Not to sound cheesy, but taking lessons again opened a space in my mind and heart that was dormant. Music is a giant emotional outlet for me, and I loved being able to express myself on the 88 keys once again.

And I practiced A LOT. I tried to play at least an hour a day, which was quite a full workload for someone working full-time and marathon training, husband, church callings, blah blah. My piano (with the left hand G sharp/A flat broken) was in our bonus room in our cinder-block wall apartment on the University of Utah campus where Brett was getting his master's in finance. The piano shared a wall with the bedroom of the apartment next door. Our next door neighbor, Anna, a nice Hungarian girl completing her master's as a nurse practitioner, could 10000000% hear every single note loud and clear as it ricocheted off the cheap walls but she never complained. She's a saint. I can just imagine her rolling her eyes and ringing her hands every time I messed up on the same spot in the same @#$% song every @#$% time!

My teacher, Karina, challenged me to dive into theory and memorize songs (scary as crack) and overall made me want to be a better pianist. 

I know you want to hear me play now (sarcasm if you didn't catch it)! I'm no prodigy (although I wish I was. Why can't I be Mozart??!).

The first two videos are from my summer recital. My mom flew out to celebrate my birthday and listen to me play and two of my aunts, my uncle, my cousin Mia and my friend Arielle came to cheer me on. It was lovely to have support, but also nerve-wracking. Does anyone else forget how to read notes when they play in front of people?

This first video is Sonata (L. 104) by Domenico Scarlatti (I majorly botched this song)
Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 7, No. 2 by Frederic Chopin
and a rendition of The Spirit of God

The first and third song from Claude Debussy's Suite Bergamasque 
Clair de lune

My second recital was in February right before Brett and I went to Italy and moved to San Francisco. Brett was able to come to this one because he wasn't out of the state and I invited my friend Arielle and her husband Phil. I didn't even tell anyone else. My friend Jennica started taking piano lessons from the same teacher and she played in this recital and did a wonderful job despite distractions from her adorable baby boy. 

Tempo Di Menuetto, Finale from Sonata No. 22 by Joseph Haydn

Waltz in C# Minor, Op. 64, No. 2 by Frederic Chopin (I botched this one)

The fourth and last song of Claude Debussy's Suite Bergamasque, Passepied (which is a French court dance)

Song Without Words, Op. 102, No. 4 by Felix Mendelssohn - Bartholdy. I made a story to this song like the dork I am and played it as if it were the score to a Pixar animated short. It's about a man living in Poland on his evening commute home at the train station in the dead of winter (circa 1930s). He is complacently sad and everything is gray around him. Then he spots a beautiful woman searching for her lost glove. He picks up her glove from the ground, hands it to her and their eyes meet for a brief second and it's bliss. She gets on a train not going to his destination and he watches her board. He has this urge to get on the train with her and attempts to do so, but it's too late. The train has started and he starts running after it, but to no avail. He then submits to the mundanity of his life and boards his own train, back to the cold apartment he shares with no one. It's a sad story, but it fits the song so well! 

Thanks for listening to my sub-par piano skills! I love to celebrate my mediocrity. As Tituss Burgess says, I'm fierciocre. If only I were Rachmaninoff. Sigh.