I was born to love piano. I used to stare and gape at our piano player at music lessons in kindergarten to the extent that she started missing notes and complained to the mentor about me harassing her. 50 years later I still remember that my child enchantment by the instrument. It was I who solicited my parents to buy an upright, so at the age of 6 I started my first occasional piano lessons with a private instructor. Later on, I entered a state music school, but gave up it at the second grade, drawing a line by that of all my formal and supervised music education. I was 11 by the time, eager to be a normal boy with street boy’s interests, which do not commonly implied playing stale sonatinas and gavottes. Perhaps something was askew in the way young children had to be taught at those music schools, once their love for music proned to diminish there.
The first pause did not last too long, and in three years I found myself sitting back at my big and black friend and since then I started off in my long life journey of self-learning. Now, over 40 years later I still walk alone along my piano path and I just love it. Was the journey straight, comprehensible and uninterrupted? Not at all. I studied in a technical university away from my parents’ home, leaving behind my piano, then lived in dormitories where there was no place for any piano. And altogether, there were no any affordable electric keyboards in those ancient pre-computer times. Still I took any opportunity to find places where was a piano to play and learn it once in a while.
The next reborn happened when I could buy my first Yamaha keyboard (PSR-2700) in the middle of the 90-ths. That was a kind of breakthrough, as by that time I could write program codes and used all the possibilities, which connection between the keyboard and PC could provide. Here are examples of my playing that time. Nevertheless, it still was the pre-web era and I had been building my playing technique through my own trials and errors with the unappropriate flabby keyboard, in spite the fact that it was not cheap ($1 500). I never had an idea that mechanics of the keyboard prevented me from progress. Thus, in next few years I hit a wall and got distressed by my mediocrity, blaming only my innate abilities and myself. That thrusted me out of piano playing for the longest period – 7 years. I just saw no leading light ahead, why I could improve. It was just darkness around. No use to continue being a drab.
It turned out that the piano may gnaw at you all your life, even if tried to shoot it down… One night I was disquieted by the song «What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life» (I started with it with a new keyboard after the pause), as if a forlorn and shot down piano was singing that song to me somewhere deep in my mind. That happened to be the final resurrection. I switched on the keyboard, entered the web for relevant information and my journey continued. Another seven years passed by. I must say I am happy with my piano, which current reincarnation is Kawai CA65. I am satisfied with my playing and I may choose and learn whatever piece I like to play. My wishes never go as far as something like Liszt’s transcendental etudes, but I managed to learn “Appassionata”, after which I calmed down with proving what else I am able to play and just have joy of learning and playing more simple pieces.
I perform in public, have a few adult beginner students and find teaching a lot of fun. I went long way from “Wild Rider” of Schumann to “Appassionata” and Oscar Peterson’s transcription of “Whisper Not” by self-study for decades and believe me I know something about the road.
I have a blog in Russian about piano self-studying, where I mainly translate selected English language articles, links to which could be found right before the translations, so perhaps English readers may also make use of the blog when following the links.