(Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course, Lesson Book, Level One.)
More nervous than any deal adventure I’d had with guns, karts, bats, and heights, I took my first piano lesson ever today, via Groupon and Tenleytown’s Middle C Music. But it turned out to be fun. The teacher was friendly, even after our lesson began: “Have you ever taken the piano before? No? Have you ever played any instrument? Not really? Have you ever read music? No? They teach that in schools now. No?”
In the subsequent half-hour, I learned many things!
Five of them:
1. I am not nearly as good at the alphabet as I always thought I was. I kept forgetting how many letters E was from C. It’s either that or I’m not nearly as good at counting my fingers as I always thought I was.
2. Being left-handed is unfortunately not an excuse for anything. In my ill-fated guitar lessons of eight years ago, the teacher had to teach me upside down. In piano, left is left. Right is right. Any confusion is equal. Do I still believe I’m more likely to fall off the bench while playing? Yes.
3. The musical notation system is just pretentious. In the first pages of Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course, Lesson Book, Level One, they label the notes with their respective letters. I’m good on those pages. I’m great. Then the book takes the note letters away. This seems unnecessary.
4. Ode to Joy is surprisingly easy to play. At least the very beginning is. Everybody talks about this Beethoven guy like he’s something special. What-ever. (I did less well at Jingle Bells and The Mexican Hat Dance.)
5. Going from staring at tiny musical notes in a small room to staring at big-screen TVs at a neighboring Best Buy makes for a disorienting day. How I ended up explaining this to a Best Buy stocker, I’m not sure. But he seemed to appreciate my story, and I didn’t accidentally buy a TV.