Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Guilty pleasure

As I have said previously, I learned how to read music from my dad's older sister. This led to five years of piano lessons -- my choice.

The piano lessons? Four of those years were spent in the tutelage of a concert pianist. I have a great appreciation of Bach, Beethoven and Chopin as a result. Especially Chopin. Because there was always a chord in which I would have to drop a note as I lacked the reach. And my reach is an octave plus one, sometimes two. So that kind of scared me.

All the time folks would ask me to play popular music. I can make a fair attempt if I have heard it before. Because the biggest challenge is the rhythm. Classical music has clear cut rules about rhythmic notation. Not so in popular music.

There is another challenge with popular music though. Most of it is guitar-centered. When you play it on solo piano? Yeah, not quite right. And so I grew to love "standards" like Gershwin and Cole Porter because that stuff was written for piano for the most part. And then I expanded for a deep appreciation of Billy Joel and Elton John -- popular music in which the piano is the featured instrument.

Back in high school I had this fantastic Billy Joel songbook but then I let a friend borrow it. Never got it back. I've missed that book for years. And so when I realized that I would be reunited with my piano (albeit a out of tune piano), I decided that I needed to get some more Billy Joel. Back in May I ordered these books. I would have had them sooner if I had not made the mistake of ordering them along with Finger Lickin' Fifteen which was not released until last Tuesday.

But now I have the books. And I went through them this evening. And realized that I have spent a lot of time away from the piano. I'm thinking that I need to schedule some piano time in on a regular basis. Right after I find my 30 Day Shred time again once more.


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