I’ve been playing my (badly out of tune) piano lots lately, and how it has enriched my world! There’s nothing like Mozart’s Fantasia in D minor to get the juices flowing, cleanse one’s self of stuck emotions, and engage in the beauty of music. One of my goals this year is to have a little recital sometime after Thanksgiving, so I’ve been dusting off old sheet music and remembering with fondness my piano professor from college. His name was Dr. Sweat. He was tall, gray, and gracious. He studied at Julliard, who knows how many years ago, and his hands were huge, his fingers thick and long. I remember watching him play his Steinway, and wondering how those tremendous fingers could play so delicately, so precisely every time they touched a key.
I remember also the long dark hallway that funneled me into the the loneliness of the practice rooms, their white walls glaring under fluorescent lights, hearing Chopin whipped out with magnificent speed in adjoining rooms, or voice students warming up, starting over again. I felt incredibly out of place in the Music Department–as much as I loved music, I lacked the discipline and knowledge of these other students, and I cringed with the ear training exercises and shrank into invisibility at the required choir practice. But my weekly hour with Dr. Sweat was such a blessing. He was the kindest man, such a gentle teacher. The Steinway in his studio stretched out in the light of the corner windows, and I basked in the warmth of his guidance. So I must re-learn the Beethoven Sonata (no. 5?) that he guided me through, and come November I must play it in honor of him. Which means I have a lot of work to do!
And I MUST get my piano tuned!