When you are a kid, you have pretty much no voice to choose what you want to do in your free time after the kindergarten or school. Your parents make decisions, and you simply follow their dreams about who they want you to be. The exact same thing happened to me. I just turned 6, when my mom decided to sign me up for our local music school. She had a big dream of listening to her daughter playing Ludwig van Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. And this dream came true after 6 years in 2005.
Part and parcel of my life
Music has always been part and parcel of my life. My mother is a music teacher. She has been teaching kids and grown-ups how to play the guitar and sing since she was 16 years old. She is a truly talented woman, and I’m proud to be her daughter. My mom has the most beautiful voice and the most amazing hands that can play incredible compositions. She listens to a song for the first time, and just in a couple of minutes she can pay and sing it perfectly. All these years she has been giving lessons at music school and at home, so music has been always surrounding me.
Piano vs. Car
Back in 1999, she made her choice – she signed me up for my first piano class. We had a car that was just parked near the house and no one drove it. There was a reason behind it, but I don’t remeber it. Once at night someone was passing by our car and decided that there was nothing more entertaining than breaking the windows. In the morning my mom saw the car and said: ”We’re selling it now, and this money we’ll use for buying a piano and some new furniture – these investments will bring us much more benefit than these wheels!”
And this is how I got my first instrument that is still in perfect condition. Every time when I look at it, I remember the story behind this purchase. It was the best investment of all. I wouldn’t be the same person, if my mum did not make this decision back in the days.
First piano classes
So, let’s get back to piano playing. I don’t remember much of those times when I was younger than 8. But I do remember how hard it was in the very beginning to play this thing. I will never forget those matchboxes on my wrists to keep them in the right position. If a box fell, I had to play a composition from the very beginning.
Secret behind good piano playing
Do you know that good piano playing is only possible if we are comfortably seated at the piano? You should arrange the piano bench at the best height for playing and the best distance from the piano. The best height is one which both allows the elbow to fall freely from the shoulder and the forearm to be parallel to the floor. The upper arm should feel quite easy and normal – not heavy, lifted up or reaching forward. The forearm and hand should be at ease, but not too relaxed – othervise, they will be heavy. The wrist should be in one piece with the hand and forearm, not holding up or falling down. The hand should form a ‘dome’ with rounded knuckles and fingers – and that is why teachers use matchboxes to keep control over the wrists. Only a flexible and relaxed wrist allows you to make a beautiful, deep and soft sound.
It was truly hard to learn how to keep arms relaxed, like the wings of a bird or the paws of a cat. When you are a 6-year-old kid, your super-activity doesn’t let you stay in the same posture for long. And I was supposed to keep the correct piano posture during 45 minutes – the length of one music class. And almost everyday at home practising for the future class. However, I was doing by best and the pay-off didn’t keep me waiting…
In my future episodes I will tell you more about my musician career, its ups and downs, and the way it helps me understand the world and people around me better. Stay tuned!