Thursday, November 19, 2009

DMoG, Day Nineteen

Well, I finally killed off that silly nudist. Now if I can just work out how she could be the murderer as well, I'll be set. It can't be suicide. That would be so cliche.

19: I am thankful for my big, black piano. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it (in the last eleven seconds) but I am a piano teacher. And I must say, with all the modesty of performing artists everywhere, I'm pretty dang good at it. If I had to, I could teach you how to play piano using nothing but a pair of pinking shears and six pounds of tofu. Neither one of us would enjoy it very much, but I'd have you assaulting Fur Elise in no time.

Since there are those within and without the music community who believe "Elise" was actually a pug-faced neighbor of Beethoven's who regularly complained about the noise and accused him of stealing her cable, it could be argued that playing the piano solo he wrote for her is in itself an assault against good taste, which in the long-hair music world is a Class A felony.

Nevertheless, show me the tofu, and I'll show you the ropes.

Now, for years I taught on instruments that were more "suggestions" of piano-ness, rather than, say, "embodiments" thereof.

In short, they were crap.

Elderly spinets, gigantic boxes which had formerly been player pianos and whose keys stuck (I got as good at flipping F# back up as I did at pushing it down), those tiny keyboards you can order with UPC labels from Frosted Cheerios - I worked with them all.

But when we came to Las Vegas, I convinced my husband that I needed a little street cred, and finally got the piano of my dreams. It's a glossy black 5'8" Yamaha grand, which came fully loaded with dual airbags, tinted windows and cruise control.

Wait. That's my Camry.

Anyway, it's an awesome instrument, and I'll tell you one thing:

With the right kid sitting on the bench, we can make that damned Elise wish she had never been born.


Annette Lyon said...

I swear, there are some days, I am so glad you post, because I just need to laugh my head off.

(Met your sister yesterday. It was awesome.)

Kristina P. said...

We had the crappiest pianos when I was a kid. But hey, I was able to learn. Haven't played in a very long time.

You and Sherrie should do a duet. Love Heart and Soul!

Mallory said...

I don't think my mom's piano has been in tune for the last twenty years. Fortunately, I was still able to be somewhat musical, and I learned how to play the larynx on key. (Unfortunately, I don't play the piano.)

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I wish you could teach me how to play the piano, but, alas, I have no tofu.

MommyJ said...

I met William Joseph once... whose an excellent pianist/composer that totally rocks my world. When he tours, he doesn't get to take his piano with him, so he's often at the mercy of whatever instrument the venue provides. He says most of the time they are wonderful, but he said a few times, it's been murder to try and make a purely foul instrument sound good. In concert. With hundreds of people watching.

I bet he's grateful for awesome pianos too.

The Garden of Egan said...

Denae, if I moved to Las Vegas would you teach me how to play the piano? I have had a piano all my married life cause I was gonna learn how to play, but I haven't and I really wanna learn to play. Well, I don't want to learn, I just want to sit down to the piano and just play it beautifully.
I'm probably too old to learn.

Happy Mom said...

We are considering plunking down some serious money so that we might get rid of our excuse for a piano and replace it with the real thing.

Always brings a smile to my face to read your posts

Lara said...

Ooh...I wanna come play it! I'll grab my pinking shears and be right over, m'kay?

Someday I'll have a grand. Someday. For now, I'm grateful to have any sort of a piano in my house. And only the lowest A is broken, and whoever plays that anyway?

The piano I learned on was atrocious. It was the same one my dad and his sisters learned on. Then, one day I walked in the music room to a brand new shiny piano. Upright, but man, it was heaven. My mom may have regretted buying it because then I wouldn't get off of it.

aunt dyanne said...

i would put money on the fact that when "the princess" reads this post... she will be drooling buckets (and sending you boxes of frozen tofu!)

Stacy said...

Do you seriously teach Fur Elise? That's gotta be like the "Pachelbel Canon in D" of the piano world. I refuse to teach the dreaded canon to my violin students, so if you dare teach Fur Elise to 35 piano students, you're a better woman than me.

wonder woman said...

How I I LONG for a real piano......I'd even settle for a real keyboard with weighted keys and a sustain pedal.

I would be very, very grateful if I had one, too. If only to give lessons and bring in a little dinero so I could someday buy a camry.

L.T. Elliot said...

I can't play the piano to save my life but my sister makes that sucker sing.

Becca said...

Maybe, just maybe I wouldn't know a good piano from a craptastic one unless there was a nest of squirrels hanging out inside, but if I ever move to Vegas, I'm getting in line. With all my kiddos.

Brooke said...

Hold the phone . . . Back at Day O' Gratitude #3 (where you did a nice kiss-up job to your piano students in the hope that their parents read this blog and will up your pay), I pleaded with you to avoid that horrid Elise song at all costs. Shame. Shame on you.

Now I'm definitely never moving to Vegas. My dreams are shattered.

DeNae said...

Brooke I put that Elise bit in just for you!

Occasionally I am pressured into teaching that horrid piece, but I CHARGE EXTRA.

Gloria (The Mamafamilias) said...

My girls started taking piano at a very young age and they (and me as well) would almost give a kidney for a baby grand. We're so jealous. Also, my girls named their first kitten Fur Elise.

Gloria (The Mamafamilias) said...


I think the silly nudist killed herself with 9" heels - they got tangled up with the training wheels and that caused her death somehow.

Kazzy said...

I would even go so far as to eat the tofu if it meant I would become a pianist.

Your posts make my day.

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

Since you are grateful for you computer and all the files and photos how about a photo of that lovely grand piano?

AS Amber said...

I'm thankful that you taught me how to play the piano.

My therapist says I'm THIS clost to a breakthrough!

Seriously, though. The very little amount that I can play I owe to you.

(And I only know very little because I didn't practice like I should and I eventually talked our mom into letting me quit. As God as my witness, Avery will NEVER be allowed to quit lessons!!!)

tammy said...

I am jealous. The closest thing I have is a hand-me down baby grand that was made in U-taw. (You didn't know they built pianos there did you?)

My husband recently bought himself a brand stinking new Camaro. That should be worth a new piano for me.

Qait said...

YES! I can relate, really. When it comes to instruments (any kind), I hate hearing/using anything less than the best. Especially with harps. It matters SO much. Call me snooty, but I turn my nose up at anything less than Lyon-Healy or Salvi Concert Grands.
I still have a soft spot for my little Celtic harp that I started on, but I can barely stand to play it anymore.
I wish I could take piano lessons from you. I can play hymns alright, transfer some harp knowledge over, but I'm one of those people you'd hate for holding down the sustain pedal waaaaay too much (I'm so used to the resonance of the harp)!

InkMom said...

One day, I, too, will have a big black piano. Satin finish. Don't get me wrong. I love my upright Kawai -- it's black, too, and I picked it out myself and spent my very own studio-earned cash to pay for it. But there is something about a grand.

Last Sunday, I stayed home with the baby (I have a baby!), and for the first time in I don't know how long, I got out some music and just played. Without distraction. Or help. For a good, long while. Schubert Impromptu, Mozart Sonata, a little Debussy (Jardins sous la pluie), some Scarlatti (LOVE Scarlatti, so saucy and Spanish sounding, since he worked there and all) and a little Forgotten Carols ('tis the season, after all). Sigh. (One of these days, I'll post about the piano competition I played all of those pieces for, and how it almost made me quit playing altogether. And that's why I still know them, 20(!!!!) years later.)


The Damsel In DisDress said...

haw haw! I'm a piano teacher too so I laughed extra hard. And then I went and gave my piano (5'11, satin black Kawaii) a big slobbery kiss. I love it better'n my luggage.

Fur Elise, rest in peace.

and take "Waterfall" with you, kthx.