I haven't talked about this much before on my blog, but it's true. Music is a huge part of my life, so I mean to let y'all know about it. I'm a pianist, primarily. From the time I was about five or six, I played by ear on our little electronic keyboard. After church on Sundays, I would come home and plink out the songs we had sung, experiment with scales, and, of course (I admit it), the different voices on the keyboard. At about that age, I started gymnastics more seriously, so until a few years ago, that and church choir made up the extent of my musical life, if you will. When I broke my hand and quit gymnastics three and a half years ago, I suddenly had more free time than I could have ever hoped for before. When I was in competitive gymnastics, I was at gym five hours a day, five days a week. Now suddenly, I wasn't there at all.
I don't think I really thought much of music then, or dreamed I had any talent. My mom did, though, and as soon as I got injured, she signed me up for voice lessons. I had a very good voice as a child - huge, huge range - and she had always wanted me to sing more. If you don't have time, though, just just don't have time. But now I did! I started voice lessons; one thirty minute lesson each week. When I got my cast off of my arm, my voice teacher decided to teach me a bit of piano, as she thought it would help me with my singing. She taught me some scales, and told me she would order me some beginner books. That week, I went home and pulled out my intermediate piano hymn book, and decided to teach myself how to read music. Luckily for me, our little keyboard was digital and showed on a screen what note on the staff was being played, so it was easy. In a day I was playing Amazing Grace, and not just the baby beginner version. Needless to say, my music teacher was surprised the next time I went. Ever since, singing has taken a back seat to piano, since I progressed so quickly. Over the past year or so, my rate of progress has tapered down a bit, since the songs are a lot harder. And, I like a lot of the easier songs more than, say, Beethoven's Sonata's, so I tend to play those more.
Two years ago, I finally got a real piano. The keyboard with no pedal and tiny range was just not cutting it anymore, and after a few months of searching Craigslist for a free upright grand, I found one. Of course, in my heart, I want a gorgeous grand that sits in a sunlit corner of my non-existent music room, but we just don't have the space. The upright cabinet grand is almost as good, though. Mine is about five feet tall and is from 1905. It has beautiful walnut wood and carvings on the legs, and I think it suits our house very well. It sounds awesome too - the tone is very deep. When I first got it tuned, they had to replace three strings (they snapped because they were so old), but it's still beautimous. ;)
So, what are we waiting for? Don't you want to see it? Okay, here we go.
My beautiful piano books:
My coin jar for piano tuning:
Now, I know I showed you that picture of my piano above, but I think that's a little dishonest. That's what my piano looks like about a dozen days out of a year. The other 353, it usually looks like this:
Yeah, I just clear a spot to sit, amidst the books and loose papers. My mom has learned that getting me to put everything back each time after I use it is a lost cause. So now that you've seen my piano, what do I play? Well, I play everything! Classical music, showtunes, movie songs, you name it! Well, I don't play modern music such as you might hear on the radio. I'm going through a Phantom phase right now, but I think that's since I played Music of the Night for the recital last weekend. Speaking of which, I'm working on my own arrangement of that song. I liked most of the one in the piano solos book, and certain parts from the one in the vocal/piano selections (yes, I have both, I'm a Phan), and some parts I didn't like in either. So I wrote my own and played it at the recital. I downloaded the software from MuseScore, so it looks quite professional. I'll see if I can upload it to this blog sometime soon.
Onto the instruments I just dabble in: fiddle and guitar. I had great aspirations of being a violinist, but I'm really not very good. I play mostly by ear, although if I find a song that I think would sound good on that instrument, I can read music. What I love to do with my fiddle is play along to movie soundtracks, especially LOTR. My brother has a guitar, and I play it when he's not home. He knows I play it, but I don't when he's around because I'm afraid he might get discouraged. That's what happened with piano. He doesn't get that you only get better if you practice,so when he wouldn't practice and I would and I got better than him, he stopped trying. And, he just doesn't have the music gene. I got it from my dad and he didn't, so while anything musical comes easily to me, it doesn't for him. I just kind of play around with the guitar. I learn the chords by needing to know them in order to play a song - if there is a chord I don't know in a song I want to play, I just look it up and play it in the song, and then I know it. I like singing and playing guitar at the same time, as with piano.
Singing. I mentioned before that I had a good voice as a child. I kind of neglected it and now it doesn't really do what I ask most of the time. If I sing a bit for a few days in a row, it gets controllable, and then I feel comfortable singing for other people. If not, though, it's hit or miss, Sometimes at my music lesson, I hear myself sing, and I think "Wow! That's good!" But then other times, I cringe at hearing that certain note that just doesn't work out. my range is still okay, but it certainly expands if I sing consistently. My favorite things to sing are Les Mis, Phantom, assorted other showtunes (from CATS, Jekyll and Hyde, and Oliver!), and hymns. I only really sing for myself though, when no one else is at home. :)
So there you have it! Now do you believe me that I'm a musician? Was that enough detail? Let's hear about you! Do you play? Sing?