Tag Archives: piano

Tickling the Ivories

8 Dec

piano

Fran always wanted to learn how to play the piano. Like most people, he convinced himself that people who knew how to play an instrument were “musical”, or possessed some innate talent that he did not posses. Also, like most, he did not know that people who played an instrument, though sometimes possessing some innate musical abilities, simply practiced and practiced and practiced until they became proficient at their craft.

Fran always looked for the easy way in everything he did. He took pills to lose weight, lost thousands of dollars in get rich quick courses and only hooked up with women that came to him. These are just some examples of his mediocre way of doing things. Because there was no apparent easy way to learn the piano he just put off trying and admired those who could from afar.

One day Fran saw an advertisement in the back of his favorite gossip magazine that read: “Learn the secret of musical masters! No need for useless practice. Play your favorite songs in days! No prior skill required.” And there was a P.O. Box to request more information. He found it odd there was no e-mail address or phone number. He was also a little irritated by this as well. Physically sending a letter would be a lot more effort than he was use to expending for any cause. But this was special. This letter could make his dream come true.

A few months past and Fran had forgot that he had sent that life changing letter. He was reminded one day when he came home to a manila envelope addressed to him from the All Star Music Academy. He got very excited. He ripped it open and inside there was a business card with an address, a time and date that was a few days from today and a key, nothing more. The address was in a pretty bad part of town.

Although Fran did have a few reservations he decided that it would be worth any risk to realize his lifelong dream of playing the piano. It did not even cross his mind that such a risk could have been averted and his dream would have been realized by now by simply practicing a paltry twenty minutes a day over the past couple decades.

Fran arrived at the address. The house was not as bad as the ones to the side of it. He approached the door and there was a small hand written sign that read “Enter and take a seat at the piano in the living room”. FranĀ“s palms started to sweat out of nerves but “here goes nothing” he thought.

On the piano was another hand written note “Take the blue pill in the ashtray and stroke the C key 100 times” Panic struck Fran. Which one was the C key? He looked down. On a tiny bright pink post-it note taped to a key read “C”. Relief passed over him. He gathered enough saliva in his mouth to help the pill go down, inserted it into his mouth and swallowed.

He took a seat at the bench, extended his index finger and pressed down on the yellowed key marked “C”. “Pling” the piano sang. He repeated the process as the note instructed. When he got to 50 he started to feel giddy. The sound of the C note became hilarious. He looked to his finger. It looked to be 100 miles away. He took it off the key for a moment and put it close to his eye but instead of appearing closer, it appeared even further. His gaze turned to the piano, all of a sudden the keys were larger than cars! “What was happening?” he thought. Thoughts started to appear in his head that were clearly not his own but they were in his internal voice.

piano 3

This insanity went on for hours until he fell fast asleep. A few hours later he woke up feeling fine and with a renewed sense of confidence. For some reason he felt great to be alive. He had an energy that he had never felt before. There was another note on the piano. “Go forth and practice” it read.

piano 2

The next day, Fran bought a piano and a book of scales. He practiced the scales incessantly. Every waking moment that he could. When he was not tickling the ivories he did not feel full. In about one year he had mastered all the scales in the book. He played them so beautifully that they almost sounded like songs. He picked up a few more books, one about how to read music and some books of classical sheet music. In another year he was playing Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, and his favorite, the Brazilian composer Vila Lobos.

As he got better at the piano, he got better at all things he did. He became more organized. He stopped reading gossip magazines and instead opted for books. He exercised. He starting eating well. He was in great shape and feeling great.

On a lark he went to a local studio and recorded a few of his favorite songs. He would proudly give copies to his friends and family. One day he got a call. It was an advertising company. They offered him a job as a composer for commercials and to occasionally play in the office during big events. It was triple what he was currently earning in a job he loathed. He accepted the job and accepted his new way of life and succeeded at both.