For a place that frowns on music in public, there sure is a lot of it around in private! Ladies shake their booties to the latest beats at weddings. Musicians are hired to back up crooning singers at private parties. And the occasional hotel hires those self-playing piano’s to provide background music as their guests dine. Yes, there is a lot of music in this country supposedly devoid of it. And I intend to add to the mix by buying a piano from a music shop here in Riyadh. Well, actually it’s more like an electronic keyboard than a piano. But it makes piano sounds, so I’m calling it a piano!
This urge to buy a piano was reached after our friend bought her lovely self playing baby grand (you can pick one up from the music store in Akaria Mall if you’re looking), and every now and then when I pass it in her lounge I lift the lid and press a key or two. Ahhh…I love the sound of a piano. Unfortunately my piano playing skills suck, every so slightly, so the lid is closed quick smart as I move on through to the kitchen for coffee, dreaming about what could have been.
You see, my parents determined, way back in my childhood, that I should take piano lessons. My father was a self-taught piano player and I guess my parents figured that I, along with my two older brothers, could do with some cultural input – hence a piano teacher was engaged. Mrs W (I can’t actually remember her name, isn’t that terrible, so Mrs W willl do), was an elder woman with fading reddish, coiffed hair, a pale powdered face and orange lipstick, and she would sit beside me each week as I tickled the piano keys. Unfortunately, on the days she wasn’t there, not much key tickling took place at all no matter how much my mother tried to cajole me into my piano practice. So, after a few months, Mrs W suggested my parents money could be better spent elsewhere than on me and the piano. There ended piano lessons.
Perhaps if she’d stuck with me she would have realized I quite like the piano. Yes, I had a lazy left hand – but I was a kid! How am I supposed to know my left hand needs attention. Shouldn’t the teacher have loved my left hand, coaxed it, encouraged it, been patient with it. Maybe she had visions of concert pianist grandeur and I proved to be way off the mark. Who knows.
Looking back I don’t think I deserved to be given up on. Imagine the emotional trauma I must have gone through being told, at 10 years of age (or thereabouts), that you’re piano teacher has dumped you. (In truth when Mum passed on that news I think my response was more like, ‘Really? Can I go out and play now? Woohoo!’ but I was young and probably didn’t fully understand the repercussions that being unceremoniously let go would have on my adult self in later years…..if you give me some time, I’m sure I can think up a few issues related to the occasion!…Ummmm, no. Moving on.)
Anyway, my parents later discovered that my younger sister was, I have to say, a much better student than the rest of us. And when, years later still, our youngest daughter said she’d like piano lessons we borrowed a dear old aunts piano, found a tutor and it turns out the lazy left hand fell a mile away from the tree. Killa has an electronic keyboard at her place, and we love to sit and hear her play when we visit. (Occasionally I’ll sit and hash over a few of her music sheets, for old times sake, but lets face it, I’m rusty!) And Dad still plays, though with his Alzheimer’s affliction the music can be somewhat random!
The upshot of all this is I quite like the sound of piano.
So I’m going to buy me one.
From the music shop in Riyadh.
As we live in a small one bedroom apartment, as much as I’d like a a self-playing baby grand, space dictates I get a smaller piano, hence the electronic keyboard. I’ve already sussed out a piano teacher too should I decide teaching myself isn’t achieving awesome results. And I’m having words with my left hand!