Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Piano Teacher, Knowingly

A little over ten years ago my piano teacher sank deeply into the chair next to her desk, patted her smelly, curly-haired dog on the head, and gazed dreamily over the piano, towards the black and white photo of her "guru." "Yes, you know, it's hard. But when I turned 40...suddenly it all became easy. Things... [meaning, the taming of this zebra monster, the piano] just fell into place." She waved her hand, then fell out of her reverie and smiled at me, amused, I think, knowing that I faced another twenty years of struggle. I didn't know whether or not to believe her. Her statement seemed a little too mythic even for me to take as truth. Lately, although forty is still far off, I find her words describing much of my time on the bench. "Things" that I might have had to spend hours practicing, counting tee and tah, inventing rhythmic, shift-the-barline games, or (sh! don't tell anyone) counting the ledger lines with my pencil now spill effortlessly from mind to finger. I'm sometimes astonished by this ease, afraid it's just a one-night stand, about to make a quiet exit before coffee. Or maybe Anita was really onto something, and it only takes half a lifetime to make sense of the piano.


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