It all started when my mom planted the idea in my head that we should get a piano and that maybe we should take the one I grew up playing, although it has gotten out of tune. Mia has expressed interest in piano lessons and likes to tinker around with it whenever we are at my mom’s. Mark’s even taught her how to play a melody or three with her right hand and surprisingly, she’ll remember how to play it even if a month goes by. Maybe the kids have skills! And I do have to admit that for whatever reason out of the blue, I’ve been sort of wanting to play again, but it’s always been rather difficult to imagine a piano in our apartment. Our downstairs neighbor has one and you can hear her play – not loudly, but you can definitely hear it. But more importantly, where would we put it?!
Our apartment is a decent size for NYC. 1350 square feet might not sound like much space for 4 people to anyone outside a big city, but for the most part, it works for us. But even if you strive to live minimally – and I do, you can still manage to fill it with all sorts of crap, particularly if you have kids. And a piano? Requires some serious space planning.
Last Tuesday my mom called me about a piano that was for sale from a friend that she was going to check out. By Thursday we were taking books off shelves, moving things around and measuring walls to see where we’d put a piano and by Friday, it was in our apartment. My mom works fast (I think she couldn’t bear the thought of her half-Asian grandchildren not taking piano lessons, haha). The morning the piano was being delivered it occurred to me that I had accepted it without seeing it first. What if it didn’t fit with anything else in our apartment? What if it had gargoyles carved in the wood on the sides? Or…what if it was glossy white?!? I hadn’t really asked. I mean a piano is just…a piano.
Soooo…the one that was delivered on Friday isn’t exactly what I had hoped. It doesn’t have gargoyles, but it does have scroll-y things and French legs (Mia came in from school and said, “oooooh, it’s SO fancy). I sort of fretted about how big it was and how loud it was and how not minimal it was, plus it threw my whole search for a new dining room table for a loop because the piano sits behind the dining area. It’s definitely a tight fit, space wise. But then we put a few of our things on it and put the books back on the shelf and it’s actually fine now that it’s integrated with everything else (yeah, alright, I still don’t love the scrolly legs).
What is it about a piano that makes a home seem more like home? Claudine likes to sit next to me when I play. I stopped playing 15 years ago because I developed bad carpal tunnel from playing many hours a day when Mark and I were music majors at school. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I hadn’t lost my ability to sight-read music, although it’s happening more slowly. I’m not saying I’m good and I didn’t expect to be, not after 15 years, but I was just glad that I didn’t forget everything. Part of the deal with getting a piano is that I’d teach the girls myself so we can save money instead of hiring a teacher for another instrument like the violin. Sounds like a smart idea, but oh my, I see lessons in patience in my future. Let’s see how long it lasts!