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The piano man

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Over the last few years I have, with astonishing futility, attempted to relocate the small amount of musical ability that I apparently possessed in pre-pubescence.

It was not until a much later age that I began to appreciate the value of all those boring childhood hours spent on winter mornings practising apparently pointless piano scales and arpeggios, and enduring Miss Gill's mind-numbing music theory classes after school.

Three years ago, almost deafened by the cacophany of human gossip and gobbling amplified at midday by the eatery dome at Cairns Central shopping centre I heard the distant sound of an exquisitely played piano.

Travelling busker Dennis Lees was planted beside the escalators playing romantic, mostly old fashioned music on his beautiful electronic piano.

Here was a man of my own vintage travelling Australia and living his dream by doing what he loved best, and playing with supreme virtuosity and technical competence.

After buying one of his CD's, I asked if I could just stand, watch, listen and learn as he played some more.

It was only then that I noticed that two fingers had been amputated from one of his hands.

So to Dennis Lees, who would not know me from a bar of soap, thank you for the inspiration.

One day, thanks to you, I might just get all the way through "Sometimes When We Touch"  and "Cavatina"…The Deer Hunter theme,  from memory, and without a single mistake.

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

14 responses »

  1. Baby Elephant Walk too? I love that song for some silly reason!

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  2. Maybe you need to amputate a couple of fingers, GOF?

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  3. Brilliant! I too have been trying to regain my former prowess on the piano having just inherited one. I used to be really good but remarkably, in the intervening 10 years or so, I have magically become shit. And I've no idea why. Good luck with your mission to become good again.

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  4. Baby Elephant Walk too?Yep, that and "Alley Cat" …..both really catchy tunes but difficult to play.

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  5. Maybe you need to amputate a couple of fingers, GOF? I might just become a drummer instead 🙂 Less painful.

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  6. in the intervening 10 years or so, I have magically become shit. Thanks Vicola….they were the words I were looking for….except in my instance it took about 45 years.If you need encouragement (and there was a time when I too was half reasonable), then I can assure you it all comes back with practise……and it feels really good. Good luck.

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  7. So funny you brought this up. Talk about nostalgia, I was classically trained in college on piano and guitar. Hate the guitar, still love piano and just this week I busted out my violin (my true passion, I discovered too late).
    The good news is that skills you learned early will return much more easily than for a beginner. And some of the best tunes are old folk ones. Easy to play.
    Love the candlelit keyboard.

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  8. I am sure it is not too late for your violin….playing any musical instrument is good for the soul.The candlelight was forced upon me….there is battery power for the piano or power for lights…..but not both. Nice ambience even if the music is not.:-)

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  9. I used the age excuse for years until I went to the Halls Gap Jazz festival.I'm well under the average of the musicians let alone the audience. Thats my excuse for the Office/Games/Music room being littered with various instruments.That plus MT's contributions via her blog/s.

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  10. I used the age excuse for years until I went to the Halls Gap Jazz festival.There certainly are some wonderful old musicians around, and I also tend to use my anno domini as an excuse not to do different things.

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  11. I spent 7 years doing those scales with a 20cent piece on my hand to make sure their "posture" was correct (it was probably a shilling when I started). A year ago the manservant gave me an electronic keyboard as an anniversary present after I bugged and bugged about wanting a piano. Like Vicola my talent seems to have withered to shit. The keyboard is now in the spare room waiting for my talent to return…..

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  12. The keyboard is now in the spare room waiting for my talent to return…..That's really strict practice with the coin on your hand.For me it has been really worthwhile resuming and I hope you eventually get the urge to start again.

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