Tribute to the piano

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's a terrible cliche, that all Asian kids get put through piano or violin lessons the minute they're aware that the pudgy little stubs on their hands actually have more use in this world than to carelessly wave about and perhaps to occasionally grab that funny shaped poo.

True enough, I grew up taking piano lessons. Ah, I still remember my one and only Winklemann--a little old and rough on the edges but sturdy as it was, it rang those chords out like a good soldier (much to the distaste of my neighbours, I'm sure).

I am thankful for the music, plagued by the lessons and won't pass up the opportunity to bitch about the piano teachers I had to go through.

My first teacher didn't really count because she taught a classroom full of whiny brats who just really wanted to press the shiny organ keys and delighted at the different sounds each of them made. It was a time of cacophonous squeals and ill-timed chords. Needless to say, those were the best moments of my piano lesson years--hell, I even got a shiny star for attending class and placing magnetic notes up correctly on the whiteboard.

Then came graduation... and hell. From the carefree wonders of Junior Music Class (JMC) to the strict Nazi regimen of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM).

My "first" piano teacher was a fantastic pianist, I dare say the best around my parents could find... a maestro who had an engorged, crooked thumb possibly from all the scales throughout her many, many glorious years of musical accomplishment. She could turn "Mary Had A Little Lamb" into a majestic, melodious recital fit for kings. That, and she was pretty much batshit mental. Not crazy in the manner where you sympathize and perhaps even might want to hop in along with but crazy in the manner where a pack of vicious dogs riddled with rabies would seem relatively tame and harmless to pet.

Granted I was also a brat back then; who wants to sit at a piano for five hours a day practicing the same bloody song over and over AND OVER again when I could be watching TV? Sure, having your "own" piano was a novelty for the first few months or so.

However, like any other kid... playing the same songs just didn't quite cut it.
Boredom, coupled with a dash of ADD became laziness which eventually turned to contempt for classical music.

What really irked me was that all I'd really be doing was just the exam pieces. Practice, practice, practice until I could play with my eyes closed, memorizing multiplication tables at the same time and possibly in my REM sleep stage.
I was just taking piano lessons so I could sit for the exam.

I rarely got to play the piece I wanted... and being super kiasu and conformist, I wanted Fur Elise. Yes, that heathen piece of music that desecrated the innocence of countless children who ultimately became pricks in their strive to outdo each other. Fur Elise was popular back then; you should've seen the amount of kids who boomed that tune out of practically anything that resembled and functioned like a piano, in-house and out. Oh and did I mention the parents? Yeah, the parents who would gleefully show their kids off to any poor relative who dropped by: "Girl, come play something for your auntie."

I am sure my relatives had better things to gossip about than listen to a seven year old who had legs too short for the pedals and fingers just big enough to wail on piano keys without remorse.

But I digress, back to my first piano teacher. She was borderline psycho-abusive. I can't even begin to count the times I've had my books flung at me from the back of the room when my scales and the metronome beat didn't come to an agreement, more often than less, of course. From the corner of my eye I'd see the book(s) whizz by, missing my head by a scant inch. That, and she was a big fan of wearing down a seven year old's dignity and intelligence by ordering me to slap myself for not learning my pieces and sticking pencils under my wrists to make sure they curled up erect and strong. Hmm, that came out wrong.

And you wonder why I turned out the way I am. No, I wasn't dropped on the head as a kid... I just had piano teacher.

All the abuse paid off, I did extremely well for Grade 1 and Grade 2, yippee! -_- Until today, I'm not sure a distinction was really THAT fucking worth it.

Then came England and sayonara to that witch!

After I got home a year later, coming out of that terrible first-piano-teacher ordeal... I think I pretty much abused my second piano teacher for years and end the only way a kid knows how (i.e. tardiness, refusing to practice pieces unless I *really* wanted to play, skipping out on the theory etc etc). I will say that my second piano teacher was and probably still is an absolute darling (like the fun sub teacher every kid wants) and kudos to her for sticking around so long.

I can't imagine the amount of frustration she had to go through trying to teach two kids from hell how to learn to play the piano when quite frankly, they weren't interested at all. I'm sure she has a voodoo doll of me stashed away some place that she used to stab needles into after every session.

Although, she gets a +5 sexiness to charisma for letting me NOT play classical pieces. I wonder if she still teaches O.o

Despite not being very fond of my piano teachers, I love music... listening, playing and every satisfaction that comes with it.

Just wish I had the balls to pee in my first piano teacher's shampoo bottle or her precious fish pond before I left.

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posted at 11/28/2006 09:58:00 AM by nekomatta ·

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nekomatta is...

This is Sean when she's emo. Sean Sean Tan;

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