Monday, July 15, 2013

Piano Class 3: Timing and the Lady with Tourettes Yells At Me

  (Class Date: 6/19/13)

  Class 3 was doomed from the moment I awoke that morning. It was one of those days where everything goes slightly awry. Fast-forwarding through all the unimportant details of work, I made it home uneventfully with a few hours to spare before class. I took a much needed nap that initially started as a simple "I'm just going to lay down for a couple of minutes." Two hours later I snap awake, glance at the clock and realize I'm going to be late. The studio being 5 minutes away made it a less dire situation, but I don't like being even a minute late, especially when people are waiting on me.
  I arrived a few minutes after the start of class but unbeknownst to me I was going to be later still. As I pulled into the lot, a fancy convertible pulled in right behind me. Naturally I thought nothing of it, assuming it was just another visitor. I started toward the building, when behind me suddenly came some of the most vile, foul-mouthed cussing I'd ever heard. It takes a lot to give me pause; I grew up in the era of the internet after all so I have seen some crazy things in my day. But my ears perked up at this. All I thought was, "man, someone is getting it" but it turns out that it was I who was, in fact, getting it.

  I looked back at the car and made eye contact with the lady driving, barely taking note of her extremely uncomfortable looking friend in the passenger's seat. When our eyes locked, she said, "hey you piece of s*** mother f*****!" and, still not grasping I was actually getting cussed out, replied with a very jovial "hey!" and a head-nod at which point I was nearly swept away by the tidal wave of profanity that she unleashed on me. I would transcribe it here but it would require me to use about 100 *'s to clean it up.
  It took my brain a while to actually process that I was not only getting cussed out but that this lady was accusing me of running a 4 way stop and nearly "killing us all", as she put it. For a moment I worried that in my rush I had done that very thing, but looking back to the intersection a few dozen yards away, I noted it was a 2-way stop and I had the right of way with no stop sign in the direction I was coming. If she actually thought I'd wronged her, or if she was just insane, I'm not really sure.
  I attempted to explain that she was mistaken and pointed at the intersection where you can clearly see the fact that it is a two-way stop, but she was having none of the whole "me talking" thing. Realizing she couldn't be reasoned with I attempted to end the conversation, at which point I experienced the classic situation where you can't come up with anything witty to say in the moment but then later coming up with the perfect comeback. The best I came up with on the spot was a smile and a lame "you're a classy lady" before disregarding her and heading inside. That disregard was a little more difficult than anticipated when she decide to peel out as she left - calling me a few more names in the process - and pelted me with gravel from behind.
  While she struck me as a bit of a terrible person, I have to give her props for her boldness. I live in a pretty questionable neighborhood, so following someone and then screaming at them like a lunatic doesn't seem like a wise move. Luckily for her she happened to do it to one of the few people who wouldn't break out the weaponry.

  Unfortunately, I let this person's rudeness set the precedent for class instead of forgetting about her immediately in the way such people deserve, and my practice definitely suffered for it. I found myself a bit amped up for the entire hour and my hands unsteady. All in all it made for what I feel was my weakest progress thus far, and I'm counting all the additional days of which I've yet to catch up and chronicle.  I sadly spent most of the time thinking "I should have said this or said that" instead of focusing on the task at hand.

  As for the content of class, thankfully it was just some practicing on playing along with different time signatures, 4/4 and 3/4 in this instance. Not a new concept to me so even with my limited mental facilities working for me I kept up well enough, but I certainly struggled with hitting the correct keys on the piano, which is probably sort of important to playing well. I wouldn't know but I'm pretty confident in that statement.
  What struck me most in this class is just how much is going on in sheet music and the more impressed I become with people who can seamlessly read a song while playing it for the first time. I never bothered learning to read music when I picked up guitar, but as I'm doing so now, I am discovering that I had absolutely no idea how much is going on in such a small space. The key a song is in, the pitch of the notes, the time signatures, the actual notes with their various times and placements, dynamics, legatos and slurs, and on and on. There's just so much information in such a little space that it's a little overwhelming. Given, what I'm reading right now is only doing 3 or 4 things at a time, but I've seen some pretty intense music that seems akin to juggling 10 objects at a time with one hand tied behind your back. No doubt experience will lessen the intensity but as a beginner, it's a daunting mountain to ascend. And not that I plan to be an orchestral pianist that needs an especially high level of reading skill, but I hate doing things halfway so my natural desire is to master it. If that actually happens is something that won't be seen for a looooong time.
  As a younger person, all of these concepts bored me and I never cared to learn them. I just wanted to learn how to play songs. Now that I'm a bit older, I want to learn how to play music and I find the concepts fascinating, making me wish I'd taken the time as a kid to learn them as a kid. But that can be said for a lot of things I failed to do when I was especially young. I just try to do better now that I am, hopefully, a little wiser.

No comments:

Post a Comment