Posted on May 13 2019
Nightfall. After another day's work on my site, I take off my shoes and walk over to my baby grand. As I open its lid and look out of my living room window, I see two puffy clouds shifting apart and giving me a full view onto the moon. Moonlight Sonata, first movement? That would feel just about right, right now.
Exhausted but content, I take a seat on my piano bench, dim the light of my little lamp, and close my eyes. Very gently, I start stroking the keyboard with the palms of my hands and begin my five-minute stretching routine, just like my third piano teacher had taught me many years ago.
Sitting here and going through my well proven warm-up has always been the perfect time for me to reflect on my day, on my life, and on my goals and dreams, both past and present. A virtual diary for my mental notes, each one subconsciously linked to the piano piece that I have been practicing when I penned it down in my mind. The opening of a wormhole that allows me to instantly revisit any time and place of my past, along with my thoughts, experiences, and impending decisions that were on my mind at the time, all of which I have forever added to this internal bookshelf of mine by reflecting on them while I was sitting on this very piano bench.
I remember the time when I was eight and I was just starting out on that old and run-down upright that my mom had inherited from her great-aunt. Life was simple, and between school, homework, and playing tennis, ping pong, or some of the early computer games with my friend, I enjoyed sitting down for 20–30 minutes whenever I could to go over my piano exercises, always eager to make my parents proud. I remember the tough times following my family's move to another city, with the resulting loss of friends and bullying at school, and with a new piano teacher with whom I never really made a connection.
Finally, I remember the exciting and life-changing turnaround that came with the switch to my third piano teacher, my first with a truly professional, conservatory-level approach to teaching piano, who made my motivation, training regimen, and soon my pianistic skills skyrocket late in my teenage years. This experience has taught me my probably most important lesson in life: that I can learn, achieve, and become anything I want, if only I invest the right amount of work and dedication, through constant self-analysis and incremental exercises, tailor-made to both the problem at hand and my personal shortcomings, and executed with alert, insistent, and tireless repetition. This powerful insight has since proven useful again and again also in all of my non-pianistic endeavors to follow: my subsequent studies and research in mathematics, taking up ballroom dancing, learning Italian, programming languages, or new pieces of software, and ultimately, this most recent project of mine: the Piano Fan Shop.
With my thumbs firmly pushing down into G3 and C5, I am letting my wrists move around my thumbs in wide circles, loosening up both the bases of my thumbs and the inner sides of my wrists.
To me, piano is more than just a means to relax and make music. It is a way to experience and understand the works of some of the greatest creative thinkers in human history. A way to connect with oneself, and instantly with any other music enthusiast. A way to explore and train your brain and body, and to reflect and meditate. Ultimately, it is a way of life.
For years, I have always felt that there should be more platforms to which piano lovers could go to feel at home, be inspired, and celebrate this great joint hobby of ours. After studying various forms of e-commerce and online marketing, in November 2018 I knew that it was time to give it a go myself. Half a year later, here I am now, a mere handful of weeks away from the first test run of my blog and store. Just a few more texts, a few more code tweaks, and some more detail work on the store infrastructure. None of it is going to be easy, but I know that I will be able do it. After all, I did master the Campanella.
I am all warmed up, on to the Moonlight Sonata. C-sharp minor, adagio sostenuto, sempre pp e senza sordino; beginning with soft yet firm descending octaves in the left, and with calm but steady triads in the right to make the pace. An inner voice is starting to recite the advice that my old piano teacher would have given me: Sit up. Hands on the keyboard, with both wrists soft and elevated ever so slightly. Focus on making sure that both notes of the octaves in the left will be there, by keeping your left wrist flexible as it makes gentle but decisive downward motions right through the keyboard. Close your eyes. Relax. Breathe. Feel the tempo. Then open. Go.
I'm in 1801.