Friday, March 22, 2013

Life, Love, the Piano, and Various Obscure Mythological References

Even though I'm currently without a teacher (my last one moved to Seattle) I've been practicing as much as possible, shoehorning keyboard mangling in the aftermath of a recent 350-mile transmigration from Indiana and subsequent lifestyle adjustments. Add to this meeting the person with whom I want to spend the rest of forever, and scrabbling to re-establish my business, and convincing my paranoid feline this is NOT the place where they kill cats. Sneaking in practice has been a formidable exercise. Not quite as laborious as Hercules swabbing out the dung-encrusted Aegean Stables, or Sisyphus shoving his rock up Mount Hades, but somewhat trickier than matching your socks in the dark or alphabetizing your Victorian erotic flower collection.

One thing I've learned about Indiana, especially Bloomington (code-named "Mordor" by my friends and family) is that people don't move to Indiana, they move away from it. I've joined the rank of escapees and returned to my hometown Knoxville Tennessee. It is a great enablement that my sweet lady seems to like my piano. Support, validation and approval within a relationship is such a new and awe-inspiring sensation that I haven't quite worked out an appropriate response. "Thank you," seems inadequate, and even "I love you," only expresses a tiny drop of the gratitude and wonder. I don't think most women realize how much her man desires her approval. This is why knights of old went off on heroic quests: to earn the admiration of their ladies.

 I think many people expend a considerable amount of time and energy, like Pygmalion with his Galatea, trying to remould their partner into the perfect mate. I've always felt a woman should love the man she has, not a fantasy-construction embodying the best qualities of Ryan Gosling, Gandhi, and Steve Tyler. And the same applies to guys, of course. Stop fantasizing about whoever is on the cover of MAXIM this month and love your own lady. So what happens when you meet the perfect partner, already crafted through the machinations of genetics, experience and karma, and you wouldn't change a thing about this enchanting creation? I can't speak for anyone else, but I call it home.

But enough rhapsodizing about matters of the heart; let's look at the piano. The piano survived the seven-hour drive from Bloomington to Knoxville, and I will tell you I didn't feel settled until I moved my piano and my cat. Currently I'm working on Music of the Night and David Lanz's arrangement of Whiter Shade of Pale. The latter piece, originally released by Procol Harum, has a lovely melodic line based on J.S. Bach's Air on the G String from the Orchestral Suite Number Three. It also incorporates the most difficult left-hand chords I've ever attempted. Most of them are tenths, and playing a tenth is the outer extreme of my hand span. I have to play these chords on the very edge of the keys so I don't slur the chords through the addition of unwanted notes. It's much fun to practice techniques that stretch you--in this case, literally--and witness incremental improvement day by day. The Andrew Lloyd Weber arrangement of Music of the Night is relatively easy and I have about 2/3rds of it licked.

I'm also playing with some blues material my friend Charles Scott sent me.  My goal this year is to find a new teacher and learn blues and jazz.

Vacation starts tomorrow, and the lady and I are traveling to various lovely locations. I also am very close, the month of May to be exact, to my third year as a pianist.