Following on from Lock last week, Frank has given us Key as our theme this time.
For someone who has been playing the piano for around 60 years, this is quite close to my heart!
I am lucky to have a natural gift and play by ear. No, that doesn’t mean having my head resting on the keyboard! There was a time when I could listen to a song on the radio and pick out the tune, then play it without music.
This used to drive my sister mad, as she would spend hours practicing and I would just have to hear it once or twice and away I’d go. OK, it was nearly always in the wrong key as I prefer to play in F# (the black notes) as it was easier for my fingers to play the chords.
I don’t play as much now as arthritis cramps my style in more ways than one, and I sold my piano in 2013. It was just as well as it would never have fitted on the boat (even though we didn’t know we were going to live on one for three years), and would have cost a small fortune to keep in storage.
When we moved here, Hubby was determined for me to have another keyboard and we decided on a digital piano. I now have a full size Yamaha with a variety of different sounds and a volume control (!!) but no fancy rhythms and accompaniments like I had with the Clavinova 7 I had when I lived in Bath.
We had no furniture when we moved here so had plenty of space and choice where to put it! This picture was taken November 2017.
We’ve gradually put our home together and it now lives at the other end of the lounge.
Photo: September 2018.
I really enjoyed your post! Music is a great gift (either to play or to listen). Keep on creating music in sound and in words. Thank you.
Thank you for your lovely comment Suzette.
My grandma Walkie (Mom’s mother) had that ability, too. She could go to a show, go home and play the whole score. She could also transpose: if she didn’t like the key something was in, she’d play it in another one. Drove her piano teacher insane. Man, I wish I could do that. Did you train yourself, or did it just come naturally?
It’s a natural gift John. I had private lessons when I was about 12 and always got my teacher to play my new piece. After two years he cottoned on that I played what I heard, not what was written. He wasn’t angry though, and told my Dad that to force me to learn could make me hate it and I wouldn’t play at all. My sister never mastered it or any instrument. On some pieces I have listened to a recording non stop and played along in the same key until I’ve got it in my head, but the bass I put together myself so usually end up transposing it to F# as it’s easier for me to play.
You have quite the gift, Di! So glad your hubby got you a digital piano.
I can plug in headphones if I don’t want anyone to hear my bum notes!
That’s a great feature (though I’m a 100% certain that you couldn’t possibly play bum notes).
A lot of the time I’m afraid, but I can usually improvise and cover it!
Struck a chord with me! I have a brother just like you. Plays by ear, almost anything. I sight read, diligently and never produce the sounds he can coax from the piano. Great post.
Thank you. I am very lucky and think I inherited my gift from my Dad. He played by ear too and we used to play duets together.
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