This is my grandmother’s house but I lived here for six years from the ages of 17 to 23. Good years. Good times. This piano was purchased by my Mother and brought into the house with painstaking difficulty. I have always played the piano. I have always not been very good at it either. I have a couple, you know, not a movement but, much less than a movement that I can play. Beethoven’s ‘Pathetique‘ is one. A Bach piece, and a little of this Mozart Fantasy in D Minor. Point is my Mother bought it for me so I could have a piano to practice on in Montreal. I hadn’t touched the piano in so long I must have just seen that Rachmaninoff film the David Helfgott one, Shine, and thought, “Ohh, I used to play piano. I should just stay at home all my nights and listen to myself play music and be a genius,” which is fucking moronic as I truly do not have the gift (I only know that because I do have the gift in other pursuits, so I know what it feels like). Anyway the last piano lesson I can remember was this crusty old Swiss/German women who lived in Ft. Lauderdale with her cats and had a bunch of students, I always saw one there before I came and another before I left. She would make me practice a bit but then she was talking about how I have to hit the keys harder, “you need to have strong hands!” And she demonstrated her strong hands by making me stand up taking my heavy(ish) wooden chair, and using her pinky and ring finger, stuck it into a space curled her fingers around the wood and lifted the chair off the ground. “Hah?” She was looking at me for support, or I’m supposed to be impressed. “Hah?” So, in walks my Mom, the Krout is bench pressing the chair with her fingers and I’m a seven year old kid at a piano lesson not playing the piano.
“Do you this when you go home. To practice.”
“You get strong hands.”
“Then play piano strong.”
What a waste of fucking time. If my kid goes in for any kind of lesson I am going to watch the first two and maybe put a tape recorder in his bag without him knowing so I can determine what the fuck is going on.

2 thoughts on “Montreal”

  1. my piano teacher frustrated me so much with trying to get me to learn these childish tunes: ‘mix in the flour, then you”ll be fed…’
    she’d sit at the piano and demonstrate and i was ten and very embarrassed at the whole thing.
    i remember picking my nose and wiping it on her wall next to the piano where i stood while she grooved on ‘in the west, so they say, all the horses there are gray’…
    and she’d look at me with punctuation to accent her point on the down notes.
    i did not like her.
    i wanted to play bach.

  2. Funny, when I used to be around pianos, in high school and college, I would play part of the first movement of the Pathetique (too fast and with the wrong fingerings) to sound impressive to whoever was around. But I think what I was really doing was trying to make myself believe that I had this hidden, undeveloped talent that I was holding in reserve, or waiting for someone to walk up to me and demand that I pursue it. I did the same thing with parts of Rhapsody in Blue.

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