Friday, January 9, 2009

My On-Again Love Affair

Oh, don't be so scandalized. I'm talking about the piano, and let me tell you, the feelings are BACK.

My relationship with the piano began when I was five. The story goes: A piano professor in our ward in Long Beach, CA looked at my hands and said that I had piano hands. She introduced my parents to Leaine Gibson, a friend of hers who taught at CSULB, and the rest was history. (I find the first part of this story fishy. I have seen many hands that look more like piano hands than mine. My fingers are not exactly long, slender or Rachmaninoff-y.)

So began the weekly trips to the university, into the music building, past the practicing orchestra, up the stairs to the piano floor, where Mrs. Gibson introduced me to the world of music.

Twelve years later, the relationship got serious when I walked into another music building at another university. The piano and I spent up to six or seven hours a day together. These were heady days, filled with agony and ecstasy. I wouldn't have believed, if you had told me then, that the passion would cool, that sleepless nights with babies, long afternoons with struggling students, and the fight to put dinner on the table yet one more time would take away some of the romance. Sad to say, it did.

The piano and I remained good friends, of course. The kind of relationship we shared wasn't one that could just be put aside. I played quite a bit, practiced even, but mostly for other people. For the choir I accompanied. For a little performance here and there. For my children to dance (oh, honestly, that sounds so cheesy. It does happen, though). We even had a second honeymoon in Seattle once when my choir traveled to a festival. The choir sang and I found a practice room and played for hours a day. It felt familiar, rich, and good.

But mostly we just sat in the same house together, without much communication. The half-hearted attempts to break through the wall of normal life were just not strong enough.

And then, somehow, the knowledge that babydom is done, that teaching is put away, that I have some say in what I do each day, all these things have fanned the flame. And the fire feels GOOD, baby, GOOD.

Everyday, my piano and I have a date. For now, we're making small talk. We're playing some Chopin and Bach, some Brahms, a little Mompou. We're getting to know each other again. We both know, however, that a relationship takes real work, and this honeymoon phase can't last too long. So today I worked on fingering in the Goldberg variations. I'm pulling back some technique. The memorizing starts next week.

So if I'm not around quite as much on the computer, don't blame me. It's hard to ignore passion when it's right in front of you. Or in your living room.


Danielle said...

I wish you could pipe your passion to my house every day. I would love to hear you play again!

Liz said...

Thank goodness it's not with one of your neighbors! :) I'm glad your finding the time to do the things you LOVE! I saw that your foot isn't feeling good....from running? I'm excited to do the Wasatch Back! I need the motivation!

Tracy said...

Kerri, I admire such a talent. I can sub in Primary... kinda. :) I would LOVE to sit in that room with you while you play. Would just LOVE that! Fun post!

Stephanie said...

You always inspire me, Kerri! I thought you'd be interested to know, I went ahead and quit teaching at the first of the year. I'm still playing, and the difference is that I'm doing it for ME now! It's selfish, I know, but sometimes you just have to be selfish I guess. I've gotten to play every night this week after the kiddo's are in bed, and I can echo your blog... it just feels SO good to play! Thanks for the post, oh wise mentor! ;) love ya!

Christina said...

I love your playing, Kerri, as well as your writing ability!