Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Keyed up!

That would be me, thanks to a couple of friends.

It has been 10 years since I seriously laid fingers on a keyboard. At a time of financial turmoil, I had to sell off my Hammond. Since then, the fingers and instincts have atrophied.

That hurt. Oh, did it hurt. I would have to say that the lack of music-making gear was more painful than anything else this side of, well, companionship.

Today, I'm back in the game.

My neighbor, the mad piano player, is moving out. He and his wife offered me their acoustic piano, which at first I wasn't thrilled about taking. I mean, who wants everyone in the damn building to know whatever musical talent I may have had has faded away. I didn't want to subject everyone to endless scales and chord progressions.

At one time, I didn't care who heard me. I could play back then.

But when a great friend, a talented musician in his own right, offered to send me one of his electronic keyboards -- which I can play while wearing headphones -- I decided I might as well have both.

As of today, I do...

No one will hear me for a while. I can practice as long as I want, when I want, and not bug anyone.

And when (if?) the chops come back, I can sit down to the 88 and make loud noises.

I'm not a pianist, not at all. But the piano is the best instrument for making the fingers work. In time, I'll start playing the organ again. Not, however, until I can master the single keyboard.

When the two keyboards arrived, I hustled down to the garage and hauled out my sheet music and exercise books.

Now, the hard part begins.

The plan is to listen to Art Tatum until my ears fall off. Then, once I've mastered some of his licks, I'll know I'm getting somewhere.

PARENTHETICAL MUSIC-HISTORY NOTE: It is said that Tatum, who was blind, wandered into a dive one day and heard two piano players jazzing it up. He went home and practiced until he could imitate what he heard, never knowing there were two and not just one pair of hands playing.

I'm not Tatum. Never have been, never will be.

But I will get my chops back.

Tonight, I feel more alive.

That's what music will do for you.

And I feel more gratitude than I can express to these people for giving me the best gifts I could imagine, for understanding -- and sharing -- the desire to make music.


Birdie said...

awesome! enjoy! {hugs}

DAL said...

That's fantastic, Scribbs. I have two guitars right here and I have let my few skills waste away. Now if we can get you the music software, The Angsty Lamers could be a trio, one Lamer at a time...

emd said...

That is so cool. Very very cool!

lowandslow said...

Good for you, friend. I can already hear (read?) a new, happy you. :)


John said...

Now the journey begins.
D is underselling himself, too. He rocks.

I think if a trio can be imagined it can be done. I'm holding you lamers to it.
Don't make me angsty by letting this thought go. One day, maybe not so far down the road.
Guess well have to book nature joints to keep the guitar player from getting arrested.
Now we need to keep our eyes peeled for a B3 or suitable ax, when the time is right it will appear.

Don't worry, the angsty lamers will be able to work with the crazy jazz fingers lamer puts down. I'm pumped.

Justfly said...

Lucky, lucky you!

MrScribbler said...

JF -- Lucky, lucky me to have such friends!

dal & John -- I got music software comin' out the -- shall we say -- computer...one the digits wake up, I won't have much trouble layin' down and cleanin' up some tracks.

When the B3 comes, I'll be ready.

Piano/B3, guitar and harp? That works, big-time.

Anonymous said...

Boy does this ever resonate, and the flashbacks are to California to boot!

When the government invited me to leave my happy home, Sunbeam Alpine and a few lovely companions in order to crawl on my belly through the mud and sleep in a tent at Fort Dix, my piano playing ended as abruptly and unpleasantly as most of the rest of life's other softer side pleasures.

Arriving in Monterey, I found that the "service clubs" on post had mostly untuned pianos which were, for the most part, being banged on by aggressive but wholly untalented soldiers of the non-caucasian persuasion, who were totally UNinterested in the concept of 'sharing'.

Fortunately, there were, and perhaps there still are, a collection of quiet and pretty lounges in the Monterey Peninsula area where lovely pianos overlooked equally lovely views, and guest artists were not forbidden, even if not actively encouraged, to ply their craft.

But the Piece de Resistance was the arrival of a lady from back East who rented an upright, filled the frig with malt liquor and gave me a set of keys to the pad and an open invitation to enjoy it's several facets. It rapidly became an off-post de factoservice club, and she ultimately became the first Mrs Curmudgeon.

MrScribbler said...

fin-anon -- All I'm missing is the chick to fill the fridge and make appropriate cooing noises when I play.

Can't blame either of the dudes who came to my musical rescue for not providing that wonderful and vital element.

But there are still 13 days 'til Christmas....

Anonymous said...

I would so love to have a piano. I used to but it's out in the garage now and has been for 20 years. I miss it a lot. Good for you, MrS. :)


joan said...

Wonderful! I am so jealous of musical talent.

MrScribbler said...

Joan -- Being jealous of my musical "talent" would be at least premature if not downright pointless....

becomingkate said...

Wow! One day, maybe you can do a vlog...