Musical Mirages

A Beginner Craves Piano Practice for the First Time

Deck_shadows_piano_keys_mirage
I felt like a moon-eyed character from a 1970s Tootsie Roll commercial during my two-week summer vacation. Only my obsessive craving was for the piano, not a sugary confection. Sunshine between the slats of our beach house’s elevated deck cast black and white piano keys on our pebbled driveway. The late afternoon ripples on the surface of the ocean were lightly vibrating strings housed inside my upright. After a long day at the beach, even my haphazardly tossed hairband twisted itself into a treble clef, coaxing me to play.

Each musical mirage startled me. I had been taking adult piano lessons for only two years, and while packing for vacation, I had little concern about my being away from the piano for a few weeks. After all, I was only a beginner. Yet once on the beach, I found myself—annoyingly—unable to relax, my hands electrified with a yearning to practice and my mind whirring with melodies left on the music rack at home.

My piano playing had quietly journeyed beyond the peripheral confines of a hobby, and into the epicenter of my life.

Apparently, my piano playing had quietly journeyed beyond the peripheral confines of a hobby, and into the epicenter of my life. I realized that over the past few months, I anticipated my piano practice as enthusiastically as my morning coffee or a sweet treat following dinner.

But how would I satiate this need to play while on vacation? Still not very confident in my abilities, I wasn’t brave enough to locate a piano bar or restaurant and practice in public. I contemplated the full-sized paper keyboard my piano teacher had given me and the half-sized electronic keyboard with which I used to practice before I owned a real piano, and vowed to add both to my packing list for next summer. In the meantime, I tempered my piano appetite by playing with the piano app on my iPad and reading Ann Patchett’s novel Bel Canto, a moving story of beautiful piano-infused friendships forged in the direst of circumstances.

“The world looks mighty good to me, ’cause Tootsie Rolls are all I see. Whatever it is I think I see, becomes a Tootsie Roll to me!” I was in kindergarten when that Tootsie Roll commercial was popular, and I loved the catchy tune and the silliness of the idea that everyday objects could turn into candy. I also recall contemplating my own five-year-old identity…. What would I want objects in my world to turn into? What was my most favorite thing?

Now it seems that I have found it. Piano, “I think I’m in love with you.”

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Copyright © 2017 Nancy M. Williams. All Rights Reserved.

6 Comments

  1. So where is the paper key board?

    • I used a foldable paper keyboard made to scale, intended for beginner students to put behind their piano keys. Like this one from Amazon. Practice Keyboard . I saw similar on Walmart’s site for ~$5

  2. Hi 🙂 Great post, thank you for what you have written. Can you possibly provide the link to the paper keyboard? I’d really like to use one. Many thanks 🌸

    • Thank you for the kind words! My paper keyboard is intended for beginner students to put behind their piano keys. Like this one from Amazon. Practice Keyboard . I saw similar on Walmart’s site for ~$5

  3. That’s a great idea! Unfortunately, every source I can find under “printable piano keyboard” looks a little dicey – not clear that the source is a reputable site. Do you have a verified source for an actual size keyboard printout?

    • I know what you mean about download sites. I didn’t print mine. My teacher had given me a thick, foldable paper keyboard made to scale, intended for beginner students to put behind their piano keys. Like this one from Amazon. Practice Keyboard . I saw similar on Walmart’s site for ~$5

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