What Happened When I Forgot My Music
My Experience Playing a Sing for Hope Piano
Stacy and I had agreed to meet at a Sing for Hope Piano—one of 88 placed outside for two weeks in June throughout the five boroughs—at 3:30. We would both film the other playing the piano. But somehow I got lost trying to find the Dairy in Central Park, and sans cell phone, I was unable to check the location or call Stacy. I wandered up and down 65th Street in the park, weighed down like a mule by my laptop, the video camera, and tripod.
“I’m doing too much,” I announced to Stacy after I arrived at the Dairy 40 minutes late. But there was no time to talk, because a man who turned out to be a songwriter was playing the Sing for Hope Piano. In lieu of my notebook, Stacy produced a pad of paper decorated with the logo from her son’s preschool—luckily I still had my Pilot G-2 fine point pen—and I interviewed him and then videotaped him on the spot.
When I sat down at the piano, the wind blew through the Dairy’s arches. I wished I had my barrette to hold my hair, a fact I was about to mention to Stacy when I realized I had forgotten my sheet music for the very music I intended to play, the Andante from Schubert’s Sonata in A Major, Opus 120. Having recently learned the Andante, I had not committed it to memory.
“I guess I could play the ‘Raindrop Prelude,’” I said. “But I feel like I’ve filmed that 5,000 times.” I could feel myself pouting with frustration.
“You have a lot of new readers,” Stacy said helpfully, “so not everyone will have seen it.”
She was alluding to GRAND PIANO PASSION™‘s recent growth, an exciting phenomenon for me, but now overshadowed by the missing sheet music. I ran through the first section of the “Raindrop Prelude,” mostly closing my eyes. When I opened them, I considered that the piano, a deep-sea blue decorated with an octopus and shells, was lighthearted but also calming. Over the top of the octopus, I could see the field behind the Dairy stretching into a grove of trees. A milky, early-summer sunshine blanketed the field. How lucky am I, I thought, to be outside playing this art creation of a piano.
Stacy gave me the sign, then pressed the record button on the video camera. I launched into the “Raindrop Prelude.” With my eyes closed, I could feel the air on my bare arms, so temperate it felt medicinal. The wind wafted under the porch, then lifted the front section of my hair. I had forgotten my cell phone, writer’s notebook, barrette, and most distressingly, my sheet music—all possessions, really, stuff I had told myself I needed to feel secure—yet in reality I felt blissful simply playing this Sing for Hope Piano.