I remember my brother playing Mozart sonatas on the piano (and not the sonata facile either) at a young age (10 or so). One day, I remember, I decided I would sit down and actually listen to what he was doing. I enjoyed myself and started listening more often, eventually learning the melodies and humming along with them. This, and a smattering of Beethoven sonatas was my first real exposure to classical music. I, of course, found it necessary to imitate my brother. Eventually i worked up the gumption to just go up to the piano and started hitting notes like the 7 year old i was. I sat on the piano bench just trying to get a consonant, pleasing sound out of the piano (which, you can imagine, is really hard for a 7 year old). I think i did this several times before my mother finally asked me "do you want to take piano lessons?" and that’s when i started.
I think i was 8 years old, maybe 7- not sure, placing the date around 1993/94 (be warned: dates fascinate me). I played all those annoying children’s things, those stupid children’s music books with things like mary had a... ba ba black sheep, and dumb little cartoons to go along with the sheet music.
I have never been a person who enjoys being patronized, and i distinctly remember hating those children-music books because i felt they suggested that i was an idiot, they were pandering to adult assumptions of what children enjoy with banal cartoons and happy smiling 8th notes. (i may not have know how to express this hostility at the time, but i know i felt it) So i made little progress for a few years. I also had difficulty sight-reading, i hated it. But this changed with my exposure to Bach.
Bach! i was probably 10 or so when my teacher presented me with a minuet in G (after going past the advanced children’s books). I was thrilled, i knew the music! i liked it too! how different. I ate it up and in two weeks time i was on to a new Bach piece, a prelude. From there i progressed to another prelude, and another. Then i remember my teacher presented me with something novel and different all together- an arrangement of Sakura, cherry blossoms, that famous Japanese tune. I loved it! I wished for more music with an eastern sound, so my teacher presented me with "Chinese lanterns", which became a favorite in that period of my life. A little later i played my first Chopin prelude (e minor, which, i must say, i played with a lot of emotion for an 11 year old) (circa 1997) i was filled with enthusiasm. That music was dark, somber, melancholy, like nothing i had ever played, and certainly nothing like the always-cheerful Bach and Mozart pieces i knew up to that point. I fell in love with Chopin immediately.
Then more Chopin preludes (the easy ones, of course). I impressed my friends by playing with such drama and i loved the attention. I continued to play this and that for awhile... some Bartok, some more Bach, even a few Beethoven bagatelles. Anyway, after this i remember stuff more clearly, and here i am now- still playing...
People often ask me how long i've been playing and usually i just respond with "im not sure". 12 years almost? Thats what i think, could be wrong though.
Hope i didnt bored everyone to tears, just a little bit of dull personal history thats good for me to remember. I suppose that would make this a rather selfish post. .. eh.
BAZ at 100
3 days ago