Share your positive Piano experience

Posted by: Kymber

Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 12:55 PM

I got the idea to start this thread based on thread in another forum. We are all lucky to have each other to turn to when we feel frustrated or stuck. But, what are some of your best success stories. Or, how about those times when you just felt like jumping up and shouting YES I DID IT!!! When you finally got something you'd been working so hard on.
Let's hear 'em \:D \:\) :3hearts:
Posted by: loveschopintoomuch

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 01:29 PM

I'll be happy to participate though I have had two such "gottcha" instances.

The one that stands out the most (because I can remember what I was wearing, where I was at the time, the weather, the type of piano, etc.) was when I finally conquered Chopin's 15th prelude, otherwise known as "The Raindrop."

I had been away from the piano for several decades when I happened to hear it played on the radio and decided that that WAS THE ONE.

So I got up every morning at 4 to practice on my digital before work. I practiced during my lunch hour in one of the music rooms (I worked at a college). After dinner and dishes, I practiced another few hours on my grand. And, of course, the weekends were almost always devoted to the piano.

I would guessimate that I practiced about 40 hours a week for about 3 months on this piece alone. A total of about 480 hours, give or take.

Then came the day when I went across the hall to a practice room, put the music up on the stand and played the whole prelude through, without one mistake and with some genuine dynamics. I remember coming close to the very end and realizing that I hadn't hit one wrong note...I began to actually shake because I was so nervous that I would screw up the very last measure. But no. As I lifted my hands from the keyboard after that last chord, I was so stunned I couldn't move for several minutes.

A moment in my life I will NEVER forget.

Kathleen
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 01:40 PM

See my last next to last entry in the etude recitals thread.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 02:06 PM

Just about every time I sit at the bench is a joyful experience for me. Or, to put it another way, if it is ever NOT positive, I know to walk away for a while. \:\)

But if forced to choose, I'd have to say my most positive experiences have been:

(1) the time I played for over an hour at the Charlotte airport on their crummy little grand with one of the strings broken, as literally hundreds of people walked by, and

(2) a time I was playing an old upright that had been stuck (abandoned?) in an open stairwell at a hotel resort I was staying at, and a woman came rushing up to me with a real intense look on her face as I was playing "Nefeli." I thought to myself, "uh-oh. This piano is reverberating like crazy in the stairwell and I bet she's coming over to tell me to shut the %$#@ up," but instead she said, "That is the most beautiful song I've ever heard. You have to tell me the name of it and who wrote it." \:\)
Posted by: Triryche

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 02:35 PM

Mine would have to be when I was working on Solitude by David Nevue.
One evening after a nice dinner and a few glasses of Merlot I fell asleep on the sofa.
When I woke up I went downstairs (where my DP is set up) to make sure everything was off in the rec-room, so naturally I couldn’t resist making a pit stop and turning on the DP. I could not readily locate the sheet music for Solitude, so half asleep I started playing from memory. Then it occurred to me how much my DP looked like a baby grand, which I thought was odd, especially considering I never noticed before. I then realized I was playing with my eyes closed and actually seeing a piano in my mind's eye. Unfortunately the moment I became conscious of this, the whole scene disappeared, like the popping of a balloon. But up until that point I played it (at least it seemed so) the most expressively I ever had, and I finally nailed a part that was tripping me up. From that point on, I rarely blundered on the passage that normally gave me a problem.
Posted by: Woody-Woodruff

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 02:35 PM

You asked for it,
My mother-in-law has altzheimer's and has been in an assisted living facility for about 2 years now. The facility has a Young Chang 6' grand piano in the main public area. I've played Christmas carols during the season and some of my popular music on different visits for the people at the facility. Mostly songs that they would know and sing along to. They seemed to enjoy it and me, being a ham certainly and enjoying the sound of the YC didn't mind entertaining!

About 3 months ago on one of my visits to the facility after doing the usual popular sing-alongs I decided to try out my Chopin B-minor waltz (Op. 69, No. 2). I did warn them ahead of time just in case they didn't like it. It was the first time I played any Chopin in public and I figured what's the worst that can happen - they are in their 80's and most are in wheel chairs and I can run away from them.

I had been a particularly difficult day, my mother-in-law had started going downhill, my contract lost it's funding where I was working and I was having one hell of a time trying to even get a foot in the door to talk to people applying for another one, etc.

Anyway, I played the waltz in a little slower tempo and with more rubato than I usually do. I normally drive a 50 year old spinet (Molly) which I thought had a great voice until the YC grand started singing - both to me and my now silent audience.

Once I finished with the last B-minor chord and let her decay out, I realized I had closed my eyes at some point during the waltz. When I opened them and looked around I had about 30 people, instead of the usual 15 - 20 staring at me with tears running down their cheeks.

My mother-in-law is still going down hill, I still haven't found a job but, I added something to people's lives - and mine in the process.

Thanks for listening,
Woody
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 02:38 PM

What a beautiful story, Woody, and beautifully written.
Posted by: Kymber

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 02:46 PM

I am loving all of these stories.
Woody- My best to your mother-in-law.
And I am keeping my hopes us that you find a job soon. \:\)
Posted by: Triryche

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 02:56 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Woody-Woodruff:
...I figured what's the worst that can happen - they are in their 80's and most are in wheel chairs and I can run away from them.
[/b]
That's too funny!!!

Awesome story, it most have been a great feeling!!

Woody,
Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law and job status.
I hope things get better.
Posted by: Piano Again

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 03:24 PM

I am principal cellist in a chamber orchestra. It's mostly amateurs, but has a regular concert series and charges admission. A few weeks ago, at our first concert of the season, we played a newly composed piece. It had a piano part in the slow movement. We had rehearsed it a few times, but never with the piano and in fact, we had never heard the piano part. Right before the concert, the conductor found out that the pianist was sick and wouldn't be there. During intermission he was going around the orchestra asking if anyone played the piano. After there were no volunteers, I said I did, and he said, "Great!" and rushed me over to the piano. I had about a minute to look at the part before we had to play.

Before we started the piece, the conductor got up and told the audience what was going on (and asked if there was ANYONE who played the piano -- no takers), and then he explained that I was going to play the piano part. No pressure, right? So I played the first movement on the cello, put cello down and went over the piano, sight-read the part (basically changed left hand to chords and tried not to come in in the wrong place -- I had never heard it before, after all), and then went back to the cello to play the last movement.

So, my orchestral debut.
Posted by: Blackbird

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 04:20 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:
.......The one that stands out the most (because I can remember what I was wearing, where I was at the time, the weather, the type of piano, etc.) was when I finally conquered Chopin's 15th prelude, ............

.........As I lifted my hands from the keyboard after that last chord, I was so stunned I couldn't move from several minutes.

A moment in my life I will NEVER forget.

Kathleen [/b]
What a great story, thanks for sharing it \:\)
Posted by: kentm

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 05:30 PM

About 35 years ago, my Aunt called and asked me to go shopping with her for a baby grand. I was suprised because she coudn't play a lick, but she wanted a piano and had no budget constraints. After driving all over Phoenix and playing maybe 30 grands, I found a Yamaha for her that sounded really nice. I encouraged her to take care of the thing, but over the course of time I discovered that she rarely tuned or played it, and the piano just sat.

About six years ago, I discovered that she was in the first stages of altzheimer's. We were then living in Texas and I hadn't seen her for awhile. On a vist to Phoenix we stopped in to see her. I sat down at her beautiful but hideously out-of-tune piano, and I will never forget the look on her face as I began to play. Memories and stories came flooding back to her, and we had a great visit together.

She is now in the final stages of the disease, and has no recognition of me. But I'll always remember the little breakthrough we had together.
Posted by: Evan G

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 07:56 PM

My piano playing experience is limited to several weeks, but my best experience to date was this afternoon when I played through Finlandia (from Alfreds Favorites, Level 1) at a reasonable tempo without any real mistakes for the first time. It almost sounded like real music!

I guess my other really positive experiences--that have motivated me to start playing--have been listening to my son (now 13) develop his skills and playing ability over the last few years. His most recent piece is music from the movie Transformers that was transcribed superbly by his piano teacher. Listening to him play it on our "new" accoustic piano for the first time a couple weeks ago (rather than the Costco keyboard he's learned on to date) was a memorable moment.

Evan
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 10:10 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano Again:
Right before the concert, the conductor found out that the pianist was sick and wouldn't be there. During intermission he was going around the orchestra asking if anyone played the piano. After there were no volunteers, I said I did, and he said, "Great!" and rushed me over to the piano. I had about a minute to look at the part before we had to play.

Before we started the piece, the conductor got up and told the audience what was going on (and asked if there was ANYONE who played the piano -- no takers), and then he explained that I was going to play the piano part. No pressure, right? So I played the first movement on the cello, put cello down and went over the piano, sight-read the part (basically changed left hand to chords and tried not to come in in the wrong place -- I had never heard it before, after all), and then went back to the cello to play the last movement.

So, my orchestral debut. [/b]
Um, Piano Again, I think you posted in the wrong thread... this is the POSITIVE piano experiences thread, not the NIGHTMARE Piano Thread! \:D \:D

(Seriously, I am in tremendous AWE that you were able and willing to sight-read that part in a performance context! )
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 10:34 PM

I've had a few experiences I like to recall, but one that I'll never forget...

I was about 15 years old.
My mother's favorite piece was Liebestraum.

Being a teenage rock n' roll player, Liebestraum wasn't high on my list. But I loved my mother, and because she was coming home after being away, I decided to learn it.

She and my father didn't get along, she used to go live with one of her sisters, sometimes I'd go, sometimes not.


When she got home I sat down and played the piece for her, she cried and gave me the biggest hug ever.

Four years later (when I was 19), she died.
After the funeral I went home and played Liebestraum for her one last time.

That was 37 years ago, I've never played it again.
Posted by: Lisztener

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 10:45 PM

Frank,

Very deeply touching.

Thank you for sharing,

Lisztener - Ron
Posted by: apple*

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 10:45 PM

when i was a kid (11) i won a pretty big piano competition and got to perform in Kansas City's music hall downtown for the grand program of all the winners. I played Rondo alla Turca. I was terrified in front of the fairly small audience. i remember them calling my name and walking on stage and sitting down at the piano that was as long as our living room. I played faster and faster. I hadn't made a mistake. I got to the final line and hit the final chord with great aplomb and it was wrong. I buried my face in my hands while bursting into tears. i cried on the piano bench for almost a minute without moving.

I finally opened my eyes to look at the audience. They were all standing and clapping.

they felt so sorry for me.
Posted by: Kawai, HI

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/23/08 11:20 PM

These are great stories, kinda like Chicken Soup for the Piano Lover's Soul. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by: RoyR

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 09:41 AM

I've only been practicing regularly for about two months, so my accomplishment doesn't compare to the major breakthroughs above, but I'll share it anyway!

A few days ago, while playing one of my simple pieces in right-hand melody and left-hand chords, I noticed that I was striking the chords much faster than ever before and was able to change chords smoothly, even on every beat if needed. No thought...my hand and fingers just moved to the right place, without looking at the keys. I was surprised at this sudden improvement above my previous level.

Nothing great here, and I only know about 20 chords, but this was major progress for me. I felt like a kid who had finally learned how to walk. Now to keep practicing so I can "run" in the future!

Best...

Roy
Posted by: Oxfords Gal

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 09:53 AM

Wow I loved all the stories.

Woody what a heartwarming story.

Piano Again, I envisioned yours truly since you know I'll be embarking on my cello journey in a couple months. What a neat experience to play both instruments, two different parts in an orchestra. :3hearts:

Apple your story was captivating and I saw it played out in my mind too but I think they clapped more for the performance than for feeling sorry for you. \:D

Ouch Frank, your story moved me to tears.
Posted by: Kymber

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 09:59 AM

RoyR,
That's great. I think that's just as significant as all the other stories. \:\)

These stories are so wonderful and heartfelt.
I love reading them.
Posted by: TrapperJohn

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 10:03 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Kawai, HI:
These are great stories, kinda like Chicken Soup for the Piano Lover's Soul. Thanks for sharing. [/b]
:)

Haven't seen that one on the bookshelves yet but wouldn't be surprised. . .
Posted by: Kymber

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 10:50 AM

Well I was thinking it would be great to make a book out of these or stories like these. We could add some different topics. Like piano lesson nightmares, scariest performaces, embarassing and funny moments-all the things that make us human. If it were to be published the proceeds could go to support music programs for kids or something.
These stories are so touching and honest. I think people appreciate that sort of thing. Just like on this forum, I think people make the same kind of connection with books.
Posted by: Plowboy

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 11:14 AM

You folks are great. This is what it's all about.
Posted by: JDelmore

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 11:35 AM

Years ago, a party at the home of a professional musician (church, jazz piano, etc.), everyone who played was taking turns. I play some Bach and the host, who had been 'wandering' as hosts will, immediately turned up and profusely complimented my 'Bach touch'...and stayed until I'd played every bit of Bach I knew...some twice!! I've always been grateful for such a generous compliment.

Keep the "good" stories coming!!
Posted by: TrapperJohn

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 12:21 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Kymber:
Well I was thinking it would be great to make a book out of these or stories like these. If it were to be published the proceeds could go to support music programs for kids or something.
These stories are so touching and honest. I think people appreciate that sort of thing. Just like on this forum, I think people make the same kind of connection with books. [/b]
Great idea Kymber - I nominate you and Kawai, HI to co-authur/edit this potential bestseller (although I prefer the title "Beef Noodle Soup for the Piano Lover's Soul" - just a matter of personal taste, so to speak).

Regards, JF

P.S. nice stories everyone - thanks for sharing!
Posted by: Kymber

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 12:37 PM

JF,
LOL that's great!
Posted by: Kawai, HI

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 01:45 PM

Okay! I'm real good at good english, come on Kymber we can does it!
Posted by: Kymber

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 02:06 PM

I think its worth looking into. I wonder how people would feel about sharing their stories with the outside world. \:\)
We would have to get enough stories and permission to fill a whole book
Posted by: Woody-Woodruff

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 03:17 PM

Kymber & Kawai,
I can't speak for any of the others posting here, but your more than welcome to use anything I've posted for the cause. I'm pretty sure that since this is a public forum anything written in it is public domain anyway.

I would like to also thank all those who had nice things to say about my posting and all of the others that have contributed - it does make for some interesting reading.
Woody
Posted by: pianoluvr

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 09:28 PM

Oh my...some of these stories have been so, SO utterly inspiring.
Here is one of my happier piano stories:

This summer has been quite difficult for my family. Many of our immediate relations, close, CLOSE people to us, passed away. The worst of these was the death of my grandmother's son, my uncle. Personally, I really wanted to help my grandmother through this time. But I'm sixteen. I couldn't think of anything outstanding, nor did I have enough "weight" or "experience" to say anything profoundly wise or consoling.
However, one night I sat down to play piano, and I chose to play Fur Elise (the beginning part...I had just started the song). Somehow, I ended up playing it incredibly well. And when I finished, my grandmother came and hugged me and she was so happy and proud.

That's probably my happiest piano moment! I'd love for something like that to happen more often! \:\)
Posted by: Triryche

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 09:46 PM

If these stories ever make it into the “Beef Noodles …”, surely there will be at least three categories:

Yeah, it finally clicked!!

Survived that nightmarish scenario!!

Tear Jerkers. Those are so very touching, it must have took courage to share.

(brb, I need to hug my family now)
Posted by: Key Notes

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/24/08 11:54 PM

Beautiful and touching stories everyone.

Two memorable moments for me are the day my digital piano arrives, and the first time I was able to play a simple song with both hands together, "Jingle Bells". This is when my never ending question of whether I can learn how to play this beautiful instrument or not ends. \:\)
Posted by: Blackbird

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/25/08 04:41 AM

Once upon a time I was sat in a room, a beautifully lit room looking at a masterful painting of a young girl, drinking in the skill of the painter.

I looked around and saw a piano sat island like near the centre of the room. I caught the eye of another sat there. Our eyes met and we nodded in the same knowing wistful way. We smiled somewhat sadly.

Our thoughts though never expressed were the same,
"Should have done it while we had the chance"

For as I looked around others came into view, we with a common purpose looking for a moment of tranquillity in the Macmillian Centre attached to the Oncology Unit.

That place, that piano, especially that painting is always with me ......

BUT as I can't paint for a toffee I'm not going to risk one day enjoy that painting again without being able to play that bloody piano.

\:\)
Posted by: TrapperJohn

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/25/08 10:35 AM

Well, you ask us to share our positive piano experience - glad you ask \:\) (thought you never would :p )

Last Christmas I had the great pleasure of being given an opportunity to contribute some additional music for our church's Christmas services - both the regular Christmas service and the special Christmas Eve Candlelight service.

I did this by creating the arrangements for and recording background soundtrack music for the performance of four Christmas Carols and songs that were to be sung by four different duets (3 male/female and 1 female/female).

What I did was arrange the pieces (in 3 of the 4 adding additional lyrics and/or complete verses), record them on my digital piano, transfer them to my computer and then burn them to CD. These CDs were then played thru the church's sound system as the various duets sang the lyrics during the services.

I played almost all of the parts in the backup soundtracks. My DP has numerous built-in instrumental "voices" and many built-in "accompaniment styles" or rhythm tracks. For each piece I used only the drum & bass parts of these "styles". All other instuments heard on the CD soundtracks - guitars, strings, brass, lead instruments such as flute, oboe, fluglehorn, etc. were played by me on the DP keyboard. For those unfamiliar, most DPs have multi-track recording capabilities (mine has 16 tracks) so that in effect you can become an entire orchestra, by recording each part overtop of all preceding parts.

The arranging/composing/recording took alot of time, turned out fairly well, the singers seemed to be happy with them and the congregation appeared to really enjoy the music (owing mostly, of course, to the singing prowess of the duet members, which is considerable).

Overall this was a very positive experience with alot of personal satisfaction obtained on my part, and I believe much pleasure by a number of others.

Just to give you an idea of what these backup CD soundtracks sounded like here is perhaps the most hauntingly beautiful of all the more modern Chritmas songs I chose to work up an arrangement/recording of, with a flute serving as a substitute for the female voice, a clarinet serving as the male voice, and the piano part played via an "modern electric piano" voice:

Mary, Did You Know?

And here is a really gorgeous concert version of this great new Christmas classic (with the lyrics superimposed):

Kathy Mattea sings "Mary, Did You Know?"

Hope you enjoyed \:\)

Regards, JF

P.S. in case you were wondering, my DP is the Yamaha Clavinova CVP-301 and the other 3 songs were: "Mary's Boy Child", "In The Bleak Midwinter" and an excellent new song called "Nothing But a Child".
Posted by: Oxfords Gal

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/27/08 07:20 AM

Well I've had one that I posted on other threads so I'll spare the board the repeat, but I did have one this past tuesday and it doesn't seem like much at all but it really is to me.

My piano teacher is as mentioned many times before a brilliant retired pianist and although she no longer performs she is quite active with the teachers music federation, recitals and teaches 5 students free of charge simply because she loves it.

This past Tuesday she said as a matter of fact during class "You know I didn't know this but the music federation recitals and or competitions (not sure what words she was using since I playing and listening to her at the same time) is for adults as well. I didn't know this. clears her throat.

I pretended not to hear and she mentioned it again and looked at me with doe like eyes and a little crap eating grin.

I simply said "Oh neato hmmm I love to play in front of people but I think I'll give it one more year" \:D

Coming from her I was in 7th heaven. I felt so honored that she would think that I'm good enough for something like this.
Posted by: TrapperJohn

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/29/08 04:52 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Oxfords Gal:
I pretended not to hear and she mentioned it again and looked at me with doe like eyes and a little crap eating grin.

I simply said "Oh neato hmmm I love to play in front of people but I think I'll give it one more year" \:D

Coming from her I was in 7th heaven. I felt so honored that she would think that I'm good enough for something like this. [/b]
OG - how could you refuse someone looking at you with "doe like eyes and a little crap eating grin"? ;\)

That was an honor indeed that she thought you were good enough - and we're still waiting to hear for ourselves just how good - when did you say you'll be submitting a piece to a Recital or Monthly Piano Bar?

Regards, JF
Posted by: Oxfords Gal

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/29/08 08:33 AM

JF,

I just don't do well when the red dot is on but I did leave it on all during my practice yesterday on purpose to try and get used to it and managed to get one that wasn't too bad if you can ignore the huge pause in one section. LOL

I'm in the middle of new material chopin waltz in A minor and we're starting that Brahms one and there's no way I'll ever get it done for recital time.

I'll post the junk I did yesterday but let me think about it a little more. It was pretty bad since I was so concious of the recorder being on. \:D
Posted by: Oxfords Gal

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/29/08 09:47 AM

Ok I'm uploading it and I'll post it in October piano bar.
Posted by: Kymber

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/29/08 10:51 AM

"I just don't do well when the red dot is on"

I hear that!
Posted by: Bryan P. Carney

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/29/08 11:35 AM

My latest memorable moment came just this past weekend and is the most important in my musical life:

I have developed a friendship with a very accomplished, trained violinist. He suggested I was ready to play some chamber music with him. We decided upon Mozart's sonata for piano and violin, K. 301, in G major.

Thus far, I have not known the joy of playing music in any setting other than a lonely room, with occasional passers-by. I feel as though a whole new world is open to me, now. Although I was not able to sight read this piece at first, and it took me a week to learn the two movements up to par with how we thought it should be played, I now have a lifetime of playing divine music with friends. Also, knowing that there was little pressure, I was much more enthusiastic about learning.

Although it seems whenever I post to these forums I am saying the same thing: music has changed my life and it should be changing yours, too. I can only say it again: I never thought, when I started playing, that music could bring so much joy to my life.

And Mozart! Mozart rocks!
Posted by: OldFingers

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/29/08 10:51 PM

How's this for music causing a life-changing event.

Soon after starting University I had a date with a young woman from my former high-school. The date went very well, I thought, but when I tried for a repeat, she never had time for me. Then my high-school had its fall graduation and, unbeknownst to me, the young woman was acting as an usher. After the ceremonies, I was in a very serious mood, and went back to the empty auditorium to be by myself, and on the stage was a grand piano. I had never had the nerve to play it before, but this night, all by myself in this huge space I did. Shortly after, the young woman I had being trying to date, passed in the hall, heard the music, entered the auditorium, sat and listened to me play. After a while she got up and sat on the piano bench beside me. That was in 1958. We have never been separated since and have been wonderfully married for 46 years.
Posted by: KLD

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/30/08 01:10 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by OldFingers:
How's this for music causing a life-changing event.

Soon after starting University I had a date with a young woman from my former high-school. The date went very well, I thought, but when I tried for a repeat, she never had time for me. Then my high-school had its fall graduation and, unbeknownst to me, the young woman was acting as an usher. After the ceremonies, I was in a very serious mood, and went back to the empty auditorium to be by myself, and on the stage was a grand piano. I had never had the nerve to play it before, but this night, all by myself in this huge space I did. Shortly after, the young woman I had being trying to date, passed in the hall, heard the music, entered the auditorium, sat and listened to me play. After a while she got up and sat on the piano bench beside me. That was in 1958. We have never been separated since and have been wonderfully married for 46 years. [/b]
Very touching....does she still listen to you play?
Posted by: OldFingers

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/30/08 05:21 PM

KLD, yes she often asks me to play "These Foolish Things", which was the piece I was playing when she happened by the auditorium.

Last year, I changed direction, and decided that before I die I wanted to learn to play the piano "properly". Here-to-fore I had used the old "pop piano" method: stride-bass left hand, octave on melody with chord tones in the right. With so many notes being played, you can make a lot of noise. Anyway, I started with Alfred's Level 2 last fall and am now in the middle of Alfred's Level 3, so she's not inclined to listen to everything I work on. But once in a while, such as the Etude and Danny Boy in Level 2, and Scheherazade in Level 3, she listens to my playing. She has a terrific musical memory and a much better feeling for the music that I do, and could have been a really good player if she had had my work ethic. But making pottery is what moves her.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/30/08 05:24 PM

My teacher's criticism is very gentle so when he once said "Well, you got all the notes right." it was like a spear through my heart.

On the other hand, he almost never offers a complement so they have come to mean a great deal to me. This past summer I was toiling over WTC prelude and fugue BWV 881. When I finished playing, he said one word: "Impressive."

I still relish the moment.
Posted by: LaValse

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/30/08 05:35 PM

Soon after restarting and getting a teacher, he suggested the Scriabin op 2 Etude. I looked at him and blinked, thinking wow, one of my fave pieces of music, surely not, and he suggested it not me, weird...

We got there and I realise now why he chose it. It's one of those pieces you can continually add layers to. I know you can do it to all pieces, but particually pieces like this with lots of polyphony and alternative melodies - and it has helped me in that area so much. I don't think I will ever be without it.

It's amazing the variation in performances of it. Here is Horowitz playing it ever so delicately - it's a piece he enjoyed playing a lot...

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=NSsKJIzwapA

However best of all, my teacher gave a public concert last christmas played a waltz I composed in between some Chopin and Handel - I can't tell you what that meant to me and still does...
Posted by: SAnnM AB-2001

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/31/08 07:40 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by gooddog:
My teacher's criticism is very gentle so when he once said "Well, you got all the notes right." it was like a spear through my heart.

On the other hand, he almost never offers a complement so they have come to mean a great deal to me. This past summer I was toiling over WTC prelude and fugue BWV. When I finished playing, he said one word: "Impressive."

I still relish the moment. [/b]
This sounds like my teacher. His criticizm would be something like.... I really wish you would be more self indulgent...or "now that you've got the notes secure lets...." the "Wow" moments are rare but when they do happen I'm on cloud nine for the week!
Posted by: piano4

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 10/31/08 09:21 PM

For me the positive experiences I have had have been 1) I played the music for the "grand group" Mass. This is a group of senior citizens who meet once a month at the church where i work. Even though we have a parish musician, she is never there to play for a service, except on the weekends. I have led the monthly services either as a cantor or the time I had to lead a Communion service but never as a pianist. I played for the first time last month for this group and I wasn't nervous!

The second positive experience I had was in D.C when I was at the AARP convention and there was a section of the center that had a music pavillion. I sat down at a clavinova to play somne music that I didn't think I had memorized and there were literally people walking all around.. some would stop and listen and one person I had met two nights prior came by and listened. Again, i wasn't nervous and that's a surprise because my hands always shake!!! I'm sorry this is so long but I have been excited by this because I never thought I would ever be doing this.
Posted by: RobM

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 11/04/08 05:57 PM

This thread has been very inspiring, particularly OldFingers' story of meeting his wife-to-be while playing the piano!

Until today I couldn't really think of anything that particularly stood out that I could share, but that certainly changed this afternoon. I've been on the lookout for my first acoustic piano for a little while now (loving the shopping experience by the way) and I'd arranged to view a Waldstein 108 piano today in my lunch hour from work.

It just so happened that the truck the seller uses to move pianos had broken down over the weekend, so the piano I was viewing was still on stage in a small venue where it was hired out for a jazz performance on Sunday. Fortunately for me, this meant that I'd be able to really appreciate the tone of the piano in the ideal surroundings, rather than the 'container' where he normally stores pianos. Little did I know, or did the seller know for that matter, that there was a small club/meeting taking place at the venue when we'd agreed for me to view the piano.....so what was originally supposed to be a little trial session turned into somewhat of a performance instead, with roughly 15-20 people sat around tables nearby and me playing the piano on stage! I'd never experienced anything like this before and, somehow, I didn't actually mess anything up. It was exhilarating!

To make the experience even better, soon after this I agreed with the seller that I want to buy the piano and he said he'd deliver it tomorrow afternoon! I can't wait! I haven't even placed a deposit yet and I can't afford to pay in full for another month or so, but he doesn't mind this and said the piano may as well be in my home getting some use rather than sat in his storage for the next month. I've barely been able to wipe the ridiculous grin off my face all day, and I doubt I'll be able to for some time yet. \:D
Posted by: William A.P.M.

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 11/05/08 12:29 AM

I can vividly remember my first recital (I started piano lessons at the age of 13 by the way). The piece of choice for my debut in front of my other classmates was Chopin's Nocturne op. 9 no. 2. I cannot express how nervous I was.

At the time of studying the music with my teacher, I had been learning this nocturne from the Paderewski edition which gives various interpretations that Chopin used in his lifetime regarding this particular nocturne, as he rarely played the nocturnes the same way over and over.

I had been so obssessed with these various possible variations for certains bars in this nocturne. I was however taught the way every book usually has it scored.

At the night of my recital, I was sweating, shaking, and had the horrible cold hands. It turns out that I played the entire nocturne observing almost all of the possible variations for this nocturne because of my horrible anxiety. Not bad though, and I am happy my interpretation was completely different. Even the ending was different. This is what I mean by the variations for this nocturne.

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...

I remember observing the alternate ending which at the time I could not resist. So much for playing Chopin for the 1st time in public.
Posted by: TrapperJohn

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 11/13/08 07:37 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by OldFingers:
After a while she got up and sat on the piano bench beside me. That was in 1958. We have never been separated since and have been wonderfully married for 46 years. [/b]
Great story OldFingers - but aren't you two tired of sitting on the bench together all this time - maybe you should get up, separate and go to different rooms together \:D (or something),

Regards, JF
Posted by: molivier

Re: Share your positive Piano experience - 12/11/08 09:57 AM

I was in the wedding party for a close friend years back at the very fancy Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. I was dressed in a tux and the photo session before the wedding wasn't going to start for a bit, so I wandered around the hotel grounds.

I came across a white grand piano sitting unattended outside in a beautiful setting between a few of the buildings... unattended?! ... who would stop me, dressed in a tux?

I sat down to play, and improv'd mellow new age stuff for a little while, thinking no one was listening. After about 20 minutes, I hit the opening chord to Bennie and the Jets. Someone in the distance yelled "Alright!!" and I realized that quite a few people were listening from their rooms.

I played a bit more, and that was it. I loved finding that great place to play and having the perfect disguise for it.