Friday, January 19, 2007

Piano song

She slides open the doors of her grandparents’ player piano, fingers the felt, the hammers, the tuning pins. Reaches down and strums the heavy strings, presses the piano keys so she can see how they work. Like magic.

Piano lessons, yes. Started at five; before she was taught to read. But the lessons and dreary teachers suck the life out of it. The only time piano really becomes alive is when she creates her own pieces. Pieces about dreams. Music of thunder, lightning, rain. A composition about the name of a lake she saw on a freeway sign. Songs about music she heard on the radio. Songs and songs—until the voice of her mother: "Stop playing around; practice your lesson!"

She later teaches herself guitar. No scowling teachers; no assignments of music she doesn't want to play.

But the piano remained a faithful friend, waiting. And now she plays her own music again. Coming back home after all these years.

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Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power.
--Joan Didion

Life is like a piano... what you get out of it depends on how you play it.

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