Monday, August 03, 2009

An Audience? Dear me, AN AUDIENCE!!

I was playing the piano the other day when my daughter-in-law Lisa walked in the room and sat down as if to listen. I was shocked. No one ever does that. The last time I can remember, this happened several years ago when my daughter Natalie came in while I was playing. She started leafing through my music books looking for something to sing with me. I think her kids demanded her attention before she found something. I played songs for the next half hour or so but she didn't return.

It puzzles me. If I see someone in a room reading and I'd like to talk with him, I'll interrupt his reading, if only long enough to ask if he had time to talk with me. Someone working on a puzzle, likewise. Cooking, changing a tire, painting, etc. I can't think of many situations prohibiting interruption. Is this a social prohibition? Or is it me? If so, I must scare people away, no one wants to talk with me, or no one wants to listen to my music. Or they can hear my music in the other room and that is sufficient, thank you.

It was fun to talk with Lisa about the music I was playing, a "new to me" book that consisted mainly of songs 50 to 75 years old. Some I could play, others I could peck out the melody, and still others I could sing the song. Steven joined us and our conversation expanded with me and my piano continuing to be included.

I hope to not offend anyone with this post. I just want people to understand that this pianist at least enjoys playing to one or more people in a conversational mode. I also enjoy people huddling around the piano singing songs from musicals or old favorites.


  1. I can only speak for myself, but I suspect the rest of your children feel similarly, but sitting around the piano listening to dad play and singing along is one of my fondest memories. I'm afraid we're just not there often enough to sit around and enjoy your playing.

    I wanted to get you a digital recorder so you could record your performances and either recreate them electronically, or with a player piano. Unfortunately, just the record and digital playback is beyond my means, and making the piano a player piano is several thousand more. Besides, I don't know if you would want it and having your recorded performances would be better than nothing, but its not the same as being there for the performance.


  2. I think it’s sometimes hard without some explicit guidance (which you have just provided) to know in what situations people want company. Growing up, my mom was a big reader and would often sit in the front room reading for several hours. While she was never upset with an interruption, I think it was her alone time and she didn’t mind being left to herself. For me, I hate it when people listen to me play cello. I think Steve’s only heard me play a handful of times because I feel intensely uncomfortable “inflicting” my performances on other people. Now, I’m sure that’s my own self-esteem issues talking and my playing probably isn’t really that bad, but it’s certainly a preference of mine.

    You’ve opened up quite the can of worms for yourself. People will never leave you alone, now. ;-)

  3. Hey, I'm pretty sure that I've sat down to sing with you more recently than a couple of years ago. You are right about it being harder to do now though, if just becuase I worry that my boys are destroying something some where else in your house.