Saturday, September 20, 2014

Celebrate dreams fulfilled

From the time I was born we had a piano in our house. It was a relic from when my sister took lessons for about a year, but as tends to happen with kids, she lost interest and the Baldwin spinet sat in our living room taking up space.

From the time I was old enough to talk, however, I showed a great desire to learn how to play this fascinating instrument with its white and black "teeth." Which is why, despite the fact that when my family moved from Michigan to Kentucky the year before I started first grade, we moved the piano with us. Otherwise, I'm sure it would have been sold.
First photo evidence of my desire to play the piano

My parents never actively sought out a piano teacher for me. Probably because they were waiting for the right time when they felt I was old and mature enough to begin learning. But as fortune would have it, a new family moved on our street and it just so happened that the mom was a piano teacher. So at nine years old, I finally began learning how to play the piano.

As much as I love the instrument, I have always been especially smitten with shiny black baby grand pianos in particular. The gloss and the curves hypnotize me. They always have. When my husband and I lived in Germany back in 2003, we even visited the Bösendorfer headquarters in Vienna, which are known for being the best pianos in the world. Just as it is the dream of every violinist to play a Stradivarius, so too is it the dream of a pianist to play a Bösendorfer. It was one of the most magical moments in my life when I had the opportunity play a few of those glorious instruments. But the minimum $90,000 price tag means that I will never get to own that particular brand of piano. Still, it was wonderful just to have the opportunity to try out a few.
025 - Beth playing a Bösey

042 - Beth plays a Bösey at the showroom

There was a time, however, in my storied history with the piano that I didn't want to play anymore. In fact, we're still on the back end of that time. I initially went to college thinking I would be a music teacher. I wish that thought had never crossed my mind. During most of my time learning to play the piano I had a wonderful, nurturing teacher who celebrated the individuality of all of her students rather than acted as a taskmaster who made all her students live up to some classical music ideal. Passion for music was more important to her than perfection. But when I arrived at college, my teachers -- one in particular -- represented the latter and squashed all the love and passion for music right out of my heart. I tried to hold onto it, but sitting at the piano was now painful for me rather than joyful.

When my husband and I were first married and living in Germany, he bought me a digital piano in an attempt to get me to try to find my way back again. But at that point, the wounds were still too new and too raw and I rarely played.

As the years have gone by, time has begun to heal my wounds and I recently entertained the thought that I want to fulfill that dream I had when I was little of one day owning a baby grand piano.

Yesterday I put down a deposit on this beauty:

I think I'm going to name her Tori. She's not a Bösendorfer, but she plays just like I want her to and has a lovely sound. I think think this is the start (and also the continuation) of a beautiful friendship.

Celebrate This Week was established by Ruth Ayers


  1. Cool story! And I love the pictures that accompanied it! I hope it brings lots of music in your life!

  2. I have always admired people who could play musical instruments. I played the flute in high school but I would never consider it a talent. I wish I had one to play again...just once! I saw your picture on Twitter and wondered about the story. One of the things that stuck with me was how that one teacher squashed your love for playing. It is amazing how much "power" we have as teachers and it is sad when it is used in a negative way. Congratulations on your new family member and here's to the love of playing!

  3. I have a sister-in-law who would love your story of your relationship with pianos, Beth. Love the pictures and the path that leads to that wonderful celebration of finding just the right piano for you! Hope the hours you spend with Tori are satisfying!

  4. Okay, wow. I am hugely impressed. Congratulations.

  5. I've loved following your piano journey! Tori is beautiful! :-)

  6. What a story! Thanks for sharing. I am happy that you are reconnecting with a piano. Music is has such a healing power.