Sunday, February 07, 2010
Misdirected Piano Love Spells
Me at age 12.
A few years after I started learning the piano, I became interested in boys. My first huge crush was on a boy at summer camp for the arts when I was 11. He was cute, had amazing hazel eyes which I imagined myself swimming in, and boy could he play the piano. He could improvise and play the Maple Leaf Rag. Even at that age, I was entrenched in purely classical piano, so it was completely enchanting for me. He made a copy of the Maple Leaf Rag sheet music so I could learn it. The copy had an image of his fingers pressed against the glass, so I carefully cut it out and glued it to the corner of the page.
That summer, he composed a piece for us to play together at the recital. We named it “Miminish” because we both liked minor and diminished tones as opposed to major. It was a pure piano romance, although we never even kissed. I spent the whole of seventh grade pining for him, not daring to call, and by the next year at summer camp, he didn't go. Heartbroken!
Ever since, I always dreamed of having someone fall in love with me for my piano playing. But these piano love spells have never landed properly and have always been misdirected. At 13, my mother was smitten by a piano teacher at my old music conservatory. We had since moved away, but I had the opportunity to study under him during the summer. Near the end of the the summer, I was faking my way through Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude (Op. 10, No. 12), when I caught him leaning over the piano looking at me, chin in his hands, with a dreamy look in his eyes. What?! Get a grip! You are an old man (probably early 30’s) and I am 13 years old!
At age 15, my hair grows fast!
Through high school, I fell for numerous musicians, but the only people that connected with my piano were girls. This made for extremely wonderful, close friendships, but not the sweep you off your feet romance that I was looking for.
I'm playing Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu Op. 66. More on this photo here.
At orientation week at MIT, I found myself at a frat party in Boston with a lot of other uncertain freshmen. There was a boy there that was clearly trying to show off. He said that he was only 16 and already at MIT and he could also play the piano. He proceeded to play an unremarkable intermediate piece. Girls were all applauding and complimenting him afterward. It totally made me gag. So I spoke up. “I’m 16 as well, and I also play the piano.” He graciously got up so that I could play. I played my signature piece at the time, the third movement of Beethoven’s Appasionata Sonata (Op. 57). I totally rocked the place. Afterward, I saw that this boy looked pretty dejected. Oh wait, maybe that was just cruel. From then on, I decided to use my powers only for good.
When I met Doug, I first fell for him when I heard him sing. He was a co-worker and I hadn’t even noticed him until that point. We were at a karaoke party, and he was just goofing around with a friend, but oh what a voice. But he never connected with my piano playing. It was always too loud for him, It’s not loud, it’s passionate, I would try to explain. Fast forward 16 years and he still prefers to close the door when I play the piano.
A few years ago, we had some friends over, and as I often do, I went to tickle the keys. As usual, Doug closed the door, leaving me with our longtime friend. After playing a few pieces, I lamented the fact that Doug never wanted to hear me play. To which my friend looked at me dreamily and replied, “You know, if we were together, I would want to listen to you play every night.” What!? Snap out of it! Your wife and children are in the other room! Another misdirected piano spell.
These days when I play the piano, Adam and Dova love to come in to listen. They mostly jump and dance around like crazy monkeys. Adam also like to take a fake plastic sword and practice his fencing moves (not allowed when Dova is there) while I work on finger-busting pieces (I’m hard the gushy romantic type). I have no problems casting a piano love spell on them. Always use your powers for good.
My piano and I have come a long way together.
Edited to add June 16, 2010: I found the perfect PostSecret for this post.