Giving back

A while ago, I discovered a pianist-composer who was featured on Wired Magazine’s YouTube channel. Want to learn how to compose the blues, ragtime, or flamenco? She’s made videos about those. Tired of your rudimentary scales or want to take your technical abilities to the next level? She’ll show you how to improve your trills, practice those hated arpeggios, and play with more clarity.

Well I was intrigued.

I wasn’t sure that it was possible for me to play the Prelude and Fugue with any more clarity than my fifteen-year-old self did a decade and a half ago, especially given my fifteen-year hiatus. But her videos were so fascinating that I found myself wanting to try out her suggestions. Would they work if I put in some effort? Hey, if she could do it, then maybe I could too?

According to Nick, I pleaded to get a piano, as I wanted to have easy access to a hobby on nights when he worked late. So given my obsession at the time, we decided to invest in a Yamaha digital piano after some initial humming and hawing.

Thankfully, I did not quit my day job to pick up this project, because the flame burned bright and fast, lasting for about a minute before burning out. In retrospect, there was a reason why I never got my ARCT. My musical career peaked when I was on the praise team at TCBC (fifteen years ago when I was practicing the impossible Prelude).

These days, I am giving back, by giving my mom the occasional piano lesson. My theory and counterpoint knowledge might not run deep, but I can harmonize a few notes. In fact, my mom has been pretty insistent on getting her return on investment.

“Have you written the harmonies for my songs yet?” she would ask. I’ve got to transpose the melody from whichever key the piece is written in to the C scale, figure out an accompaniment for her left hand, and then write it all out for her in Chinese musical notation.

I guess my 10,000 hours of practice weren’t entirely a waste of time.

And… I also hold the title of at-home on-demand hymnal karaoke player for Nick.

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