When I was around 8 or 9 years old, I really wanted to play the piano. I was already learning the tenor horn at school but I absolutely became desperate to learn piano. I received a small electronic organ for Christmas but I must have continued to pester my Mother, or my Mum decided that a child playing piano was a great thing, because on my 10th birthday I received piano lessons which my Mother continued to pay for for the next several years… I think until I moved away to university. Sadly, we could never afford more than my two octave keyboard, and I was never that diligent in practising…
The first opportunity I had to live with a piano came several years later when I served as a missionary. I was in Lancaster, Lancashire, and our house had a piano, and of course, a church song books. The hymns were tricky but the children’s song book… So over the following couple of months, I spent time on our free day playing piano and became fairly competent at a few pieces.
After my mission, I had a flat mate with an old piano who left it when moving out to make room for my dear husband. We kept the piano for the first flat move but with children and subsequent moves it got left in a large unfurnished two bed with a moisture problem!
Several years and two more children later, we decided to put together some Christmas gift vouchers the children had received and buy a Yamaha keyboard – 5 octaves. I recall Son1 was not too keen on a family keyboard taking the place of more wooden train tracks. He still remembers that!
So here we are, Daur2 is learning piano, Son2 will hopefully start piano lessons at school this term, and I often have a nagging feeling that I’m not using my musical talent…
Flash forward to last Sunday and after church meetings the choir director is in the hall getting support and I hear her call out – I need someone to play piano. In a moment of generosity I admit I can, enough to play the melody, in fact all four parts but not at the same time (I’ve never truly mastered playing more than one key with each hand!). Then, out of nowhere, my dear mother states – oh yes, Vanessa can play, did piano lessons for years! And I’m thinking – please don’t big it up too much. Sister Choir Director thrusts some sheet music into my hands and asks:
Can you play this?
With some practice!
I respond. And that’s it! I don’t even recognise the hymn – but it’s not like it’s in C major so that’s a plus, I think. On telling my dear children on the way to the car, Daur1 asks, and when are you going to find time to practice that!? Mmm… a good point me thinks!! This post has taken the best part of 3 days to write.
It’s nearly the middle of the weeks, four full days till next Sunday, and I’ve yet to touch the keyboard but I have done some air piano :). Maybe Sister Choir Director is planning on the hymn being sung a capella and only needs the melody played to learn the hymn… doesn’t everyone dream of doing a piano recital… I’ll update you on what happens…