Monday, August 5, 2013

Piano Rant

     It seems to me that the piano players of the world are classified into just two (2) distinct categories: those who hate to play, and those who love to.

     Both groups can be broken up into different sub-groups, of course. The haters might detest the actual instrument, as if the 88-keyed music device personally insulted them, or ran over their dog. Perhaps the individuals who despise it abhor the hours and hours and hours of practice that they're forced into by parents who have grandiose fantasies of their offspring being a child-prodigy, and their child-beast being the reincarnation of Beethoven.

     The admirers of the stringed instrument might not actually enjoy finger-aerobics, but like to claim the ability to play songs people know. Others, instead, enjoy playing for the simple fact that there are lots of "buttons," and that crude noises can be created. This group of people is usually made up of toddlers and pigeons, but some adults can be an exception. Another group are the people who play because they genuinely enjoy making melodies and harmonies and everything in between.

     I've come to find myself as a completely bizarre person in every single category.

     Working from the bottom up, I honestly do love playing the piano. What fascinates me is what are seemingly random finger movements to an onlooker, are actually an arrangement of frequencies and pitches that are recognizable as tunes.

     Another fact that drew me into playing the piano was that there are lots of "buttons." Now I know that they are keys, but originally they were buttons. SO many of them, too. Black and white things to press, all the way down the four and a half foot span, and each one of them made a unique pitch. On top of this, the keys are usually played simultaneously to create as a piece as epic as humanly possible, and then to jazz things up even more, there are three pedals you can push with your feet to make even more possibilities.

     The overwhelming complexity becomes even more impressive when you make it your personal man-servant that makes you biscuits and does your laundry. By learning to push all of the notes around to do what you want, you gain an ability that a slim 0.5% of the world's population have. And that, alone, is pretty freakin' sweet.

     I'm not the healthiest looking guy. I've started and ended multiple exercise routines, and there are probably more workouts that will start and end abruptly in my future. The only one that I have been able to slightly stick to has been playing the piano. You might say finger exercises aren't real. Well, I ask you to tell that to my fingers' six packs. All ten of them.

    Once upon a time, I was put into piano lessons. I hated them. If piano lessons were a tangible thing, I'd probably reenact the entirety of Dumb Ways to Die on them. Twice. And I only took three lessons. My parents never exactly whipped out a funnel and force fed me piano theory, but I did out of curiosity try lessons to see how it is.

     I have absolutely nothing against piano teachers, but taking lessons is akin to a certain situation.

     You spend twelve years carefully growing and maintaining a single blade of grass. Your goal is to make this blade of grass the tallest in all of existence. To achieve this, you purchase an innumerable amount of fertilizer packages to increase its rate of growth. Then, to keep it safe during the winter, you construct a greenhouse with exact dimensions around the single blade, and then learn to knit for the sole purpose of creating a custom neck-scarf for your precious blade.

     After those twelve years, you reverently dial Guinness World Records. As you do this, a "professional" gardener forces his way into your home with your giant blade of grass in tow. He throws the whole thing in a blender, pours it out and forms a tube of grass carcass, dries it with a demonic hairdryer, and then proceeds to whip you with it as he instructs you on proper gardening techniques.

     THAT is how I felt taking piano lessons.

     Now, with my previously stated adoration of the piano, you might be wondering why I hate the instrument itself. Right now, I hate them because they're avoiding me. If pianos were drugs, I'd be arrested for substance abuse. I'm addicted to playing. My hatred only arises from the fact that pianos are so scarce. Before my family moved, I had access to our digital grand 24/7. Now, I can maybe sort of sometimes play for twenty minutes a week.

     I am dying inside.

1 comment :

  1. I completely understand the love/hate relationship with the piano. Been there, struggled through that. Though I must admit you are much more skilled than I. :)