Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Well, I’ve gone and done it.  After years of hemming and hawing — Can I afford it? Will I use it? Will it be close enough to the real thing? — I am now the owner of a digital piano.

It was a weekend full of exciting things: all-you-can-eat Indian food; a solution to the Panther’s tendency to run from one end of the apartment to the other at breakneck speeds and launch himself onto the windowsill in the middle of the night (we feed him just before we go to sleep now, and he stays quiet till morning); our first Zipcar rental; a wonderful appetizer that combined goat cheese, pear and puff pasty (how could you go wrong?); and my piano.

Here is a picture from Amazon:

Isn’t it beautiful? It came with a storage bench, head phones and a book of 50 classical pieces for me to tinkle around on while I wait for my mom to ship my favorite books (a Bach, a Brahms, a Chopin and Les Miserables).

The songs are all in its memory, and I’m finding that extremely helpful as I wade through Chopin’s Nocturne Opus 9 No. 2, which I’m surprised I never played because it’s just my style. (I did play Opus 9 No. 1, which is one of the few things I can still play if I have the music in front of me.)  I can have the piano play the left hand while I play the right, which is good, because I’m not used to measuring out trills and runs without my teacher’s or a professional recording’s help.

I’ve realized two things:

  1. I’ve lost a lot of my technique.  My arch is collapsed, my fingers are slow and clumsy, and I find myself straining to do simple things I used to be able to pull off without a second thought.  On a related note, I can’t read notes above and below the staff nearly as quickly as I should be able to, and it took me a while to remember which marking indicated which ornament.
  2. If I plan to play at all, even casually, my nails are going to have to go.  Hopefully this will help with No. 1, too.  It’s hard to maintain a proper arch when you can’t play on the tips of your fingers.  I used to be so disappointed that I couldn’t keep my nails long — I did negotiate with my teacher to keep one pinky nail until I realized how creepy it looked — but I’ve been wearing them long for 10 years now, and I don’t really mind the idea of giving them up.

Here is a recording of Rachmaninov playing Opus 9 No. 2. God, it’s more beautiful than my piano!


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Last night, my brother and I went to see my high school friend Michael’s band, Stepanian, play at the Bitter End in Manhattan. Actually, the band’s bassist and I have been friends since we were babies; we used to carpool to preschool, and I have very distinct memories of climbing the stairs to his second-floor playroom. His mother was one of my gifted-and-talented teachers in middle school.

The band was awesome, and it was great to see Michael again. But get this. Another high school friend and her husband are in town from Seattle this weekend for a last-minute vacation. After having a late pizza lunch, Amy and Peter were wandering aimlessly around the Village. Peter stopped outside of a bar to look at the band posters taped to the front window and recognized a band called Stepanian. He looked inside, and there was Michael doing a sound check on stage!

So we ended up sitting with Amy and Peter for the show and then going to Rub for BBQ after. My brother got something called “burnt ends,” which were pretty much the most delicious thing any of us had ever tasted.

Only in New York, guys. Only in New York!

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