After at least 25 years (good grief, am I really that old?) I have decided to take up piano lessons again. I remember having lessons when I was young and the last time was in Chepstow, South Wales, on a Saturday morning - I must have been in my early teens.
I have always loved the piano as an instrument. My mum has always played (sometimes more the organ than the piano) and I loved to listen to her. I can't remember why I stopped having lessons - probably just a teenager thing, I lost interest. When I moved out of the family home to Hay-on-Wye, I did buy myself an electric keyboard because we would never have been able to get an upright piano up the narrow staircase to our flat. But it was not the same and I didn't really play properly again until early this year.
Having inherited a little bit of money from my Gran I decided that as a very big treat I would buy myself a digital piano! Digital pianos have come a very long way in the last few years. My mum had bought herself a very nice one and I found that the keyboard has the same feel to it as a normal piano does and the sound is just as good too. Some people say the sound can be actually better than a normal upright piano as the digital piano sound is based on a top of the range grand piano. That was mainly the problem I had with the keyboard - it didn't feel like a piano to me or sound like one either.
Anyway, having purchased the digital piano and played around on it for a few weeks (and after incessant nagging from my mum!) I thought I ought to take up lessons before I lost interest in playing again. I realised that, although I could 'play', I would never progress on my own and become a better pianist.
One thing you should know about me, if you don't already, is that I am profoundly deaf and I wear two hearing aids, so I am a bit more of challenge to my teacher than her other pupils! Sometimes I don't realise that I have played the wrong notes but quite often I do. I think from the hand patterns I can 'feel' that I haven't played it right, if that makes sense. Another thing about me is that I am a very shy person and hate being in new situations. When I first started my lessons I was so nervous that I would shake like a leaf the whole way through. I am getting better (I think). I'm usually a little flustered at the start of a lesson but once I've played a piece or a scale for my teacher then I calm down. Give me a couple more months and I should be fine! I think I am progressing though - my teacher has me practising grade 5 pieces already so after only a few months I have made real progress which is really good. Sometimes I get very frustrated with myself and wish that I could play everything perfectly but then I have to remind myself that no-one is perfect!
I bought the piano in April of this year (2012) and in July I was given new hearing-aids. HELP!!!! Give me my old ones back! I have been told that it can take up to three months to get used to new aids. I am getting used to them very slowly.... it is now September and voices have finally stopped sounding robotic (like the Daleks on Dr Who) but unfortunately the digital piano still sounds awful to me. My husband assures me that it sounds good but it is very difficult to practice now, as to me it sounds horrid - I cannot describe it. I will have to persevere though, as voices are, for the most part, sounding normal. Now I am hoping that within the next few weeks the piano will sound normal again too. PLEASE!
With regards to my lessons, I have decided not to take exams as I want to play for enjoyment and exams would just be too stressful. Fortunately I have a wonderful teacher who is very understanding and I am looking forward to the day when I can just sit at the piano and make beautiful music.
Contributed by Maria
(Published 28th Oct 2014)