Strike That Chord


This Friday was Beni’s piano recital and, wow, did it send me back to, well, my entire childhood. The sweating hands, the nervous shake of my legs, and the daunting possibility I would completely forget all of my music, even with it right before my eyes. It’s truly amazing that now I love playing the piano for fun; it’s even a great stress reliever. How ironic.

Beni playing Bach's Musette in D

Beni playing Bach’s Musette in D

Anyway, Beni did a wonderful job as did the other children and teenagers in the studio. I was shocked by how small the group was: maybe ten students in all? My first studio had to be at least 15, but maybe it just seemed big because I was so young (and, yes, small. I was always the smallest). And my second studio had 20 or more students. So, going to Beni’s recital was a little weird.

Also, I remember getting very dressed up for my recitals, my hair always pulled away from my face so everyone could see the profile, and my fingernails free of any polish-a big no-no. This recital was like going to a school concert. Some of the kids actually wore jeans and shirts not tucked in! Not to mention the hair falling in front of their eyes making me wonder how they could even see their own hands while playing. Oh, and the bowing. My childhood: hands at your sides or clasped in front of you, down for three, up for three, smile. This recital: quick drop of the head, long hair falling in front of your face, run to your unassigned seat somewhere in the hall.

In comparison, my piano-playing childhood sounds pretty strict. But in all honesty, I never saw it that way…unless it was one of those times I was begging my mother to quit.

California Rolls in Vienna!

California Rolls in Vienna!

Regardless of the memories that washed over me like a tidal wave, the recital was charming and the teacher seemed to be a great fit for Beni and the rest of the students. He was gracious and encouraging, while also offering the students individual advice at the end, making sure to conclude with something positive. I loved the music and looked forward to searching for some pieces myself once back at home. Unfortunately, my program was used to make a paper airplane in a Japanese restaurant and has not been heard from since.

Leslie Knope Gif 1

Heart bleeding with happiness

And, the recital was held in a piano gallery where I played a Bösendorfer piano for the first time!! eek! What a beautiful, expensive sound it makes. There were also a few Steinways from the 1920’s in the gallery, which made my little nerdy, history-obsessed little heart bleed with happiness. Fun anecdote: Henry Steinway built 482 pianos in Germany before moving to New York and starting his company where his first piano built and sold in America in 1853 was then called “483” in honor of the pianos previously built. It was also sold for $500, which today would be over $15,000. Many pianos, like a Bösendorfer, cost much more today, but that’s still a hefty investment.

Side note: I did the calculation of what $500 in 2014 would equal in 1853; $16.50. Depressing.

Truly, it was a great evening spent with the family. Nici seemed to like it too, especially the two four-hand Latin-American pieces at the end. He was so excited, waiting with his hands held apart to begin clapping, grooving in his seat next to mine to the fun, jazzy beat. Adorable!

All in all, a great family evening, reminding me how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be a part of a family here. It definitely makes me miss my own, but helps me to realize how important the familial bond is in my life. Love you, Mom, Papa, Sarah. And thanks for not letting me quit piano so many years ago. It’s now a skill I have grown proud of and grateful for every day. Sometimes, parents do know best 🙂 Leslie Knope


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