After the inevitable “How many hours a day do you practice?”, and “Show me your hands”
The most common thing people say to me when they hear I’m a pianist is “I used to play the piano as a kid, I really regret giving it up.”
I imagine authors have lost count of the number of people who told them that they “Always had a book inside them.”
We seem to have evolved into a society of mourned and misplaced creativity.
A world where people have simply surrendered or been beaten into submission by the sleepwalk of work, domesticity, mortgage repayments, junk food, junk tv, junk everything.
And the lure of eating chicken from a bucket while emailing clients at 8PM on a weekend.
Do the maths, we can function, sometimes quite brilliantly, on six hours of sleep per night.
Eight hours of work was more than good enough for centuries, oh the desperate irony that we actually work longer since the invention of the internet and smartphones.
Four hours will amply cover picking the kids up, cleaning the flat, eating, washing, and the various et ceteras.
We are left with six hours. 360 minutes to do whatever we want.
Is what we want simply to numb out and give Simon Cowell even more money? To scroll through Twitter and Facebook looking for romance, cats, weather reports, obituaries and gossip? To get nostalgically, painfully drunk in a pub where you can’t even smoke?
What if you could know everything there is to know about playing the piano in under an hour?
The physical mechanics of finger movement and posture, all the tools necessary to actually play a piece, these can be written down and imparted like a flat-pack furniture how-to-build-it manual.
It then is down to you to scream and how, and hammer nails through fingers, in the hope of deciphering something unutterably alien until…
If you’re very lucky, you end up with something halfway resembling the end product.
What if for a couple hundred quid you could get an old upright on eBay delivered?
And then you were told that with the right teacher and 40 minutes of proper practice a day, you could learn a piece you’ve always wanted to play within a few short weeks.
Is that not worth exploring?