piano playing

Well, you just never know.

I have already mentioned that I won some awards at school. It was a sudden and surprising avalanche of awards, and I didn’t even do anything special. I was working hard and someone all of a sudden noticed. I think there must be a lot of students who work hard; I am not really sure why I was noticed.

I remember back when I was about 13. I decided that I MUST learn to play the piano. I was obsessed with playing the piano. I did not have a piano in my home. I did not have money for piano lessons.

But I couldn’t leave it alone. Anytime I got near a piano, in church or in an empty classroom, anywhere, I had to sit down and play whatever I could. Mary had a little lamb; this is the Day, anything. I learned to find melodies with one finger. Almost any melody.

But that wasn’t playing the piano. I needed MORE.

I asked the church piano player how to play the piano.

He said, “You have to learn Chords”

All right. I bought a chord chart and painstakingly placed my fingers in every chord configuration for every single key. I memorized them and I practiced until I could move quickly between them.

But that was still not playing the piano.

Finally, I heard about a nice woman from a neighboring church who was teaching a whole group, an entire class of students how to play the piano. I got to join them. I was so anxious to learn, I practiced from the book, and made sure I could do it.

Then, because of sickness and being snowed in, I missed TWO WEEKS of classes. I didn’t know how far the class was in the book, so I went as far ahead as I could. I guess I was about halfway through the book.

When I joined the class again, the teacher asked me where I was in the book, and I played all I could for her. She sort of looked at me, and said, “I think you are ready for private lessons.” And she offered to teach me. For free!

As she said later, “It is fun to teach you, because you really want to learn”

In one month, maybe less, she had taught me how to put the pieces together, and I could play. I will never forget her.

Back to the awards at SJSU…

Ever since I got these awards, all my teachers, even ones I haven’t seen in years, have all been congratulating me and coming out of the woodwork to ask me how I’m doing and what my plans are and asking me to stay in touch.

I’m shocked. I hardly know what to think. I feel like the prom queen or something.

I’ve always felt like these teachers must forget all about me after I leave their class. I mean, I only have 5 or 6 teachers a semester, but they have hundreds of students. I hate to presume that any of them would remember me.

But apparently they do. And now that I’ve won some awards, they are all well wishing and giving me advice. Good advice too. Telling me about different opportunities and programs that I didn’t know about.

Weird. I don’t feel any different. But I am treated different.

If these are the results of winning awards, I am going to try to win as many awards as I can. The fancy paper with my name on it is not such a big deal, but all this advice and concern is quite valuable.

Who knew?
I was just trying to fit the pieces together, so that I could understand this stuff I’m wondering about.