I learned piano in a rather haphazard way as a teenager. Berklee College piano teachers never talked about “playing” the piano only what to play. In my professional work as a commercial musician the playing demands were not too strenuous.
In my early 40’s I spent a summer with a small keyboard and a book of Bach WTC book 1 and Chopin Waltzes, in a Spanish condo on the Mediterranean. Santa Pola to be exact. Every afternoon after lunch while the world took a siesta, I would explore the music on this tiny 60 note plastic keyboard. It was magic.
Returning home, I started asking around for a piano teacher. Leon Karan’s name came up a few times, so I called him. He answered with his warm Russian accent. Yes, I will see you. An appointment was made.
“Mr. Story, please play for me a c major scale.”
Gritting my teeth and tensing my body as hard as I could I dug in and roared up the piano. He looked at me sympathetically.
“Please play your piece for me.”
I’ve no idea what the piece was now but his reaction was one of concern.
“You are of course going to do your ARCT?”
“ARCT, you are a piano teacher. You have a duty to your students.”
In short, I got my you know what kicked and challenged at the same time.
Four years and 5000 hours of practice later, I graduated age 47. It was the most difficult and rewarding thing I’ve ever done as a musician. Truly a marathon. I felt like superman.
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted student and teacher of the drums.