Monday, October 20, 2008

Glenn Gould helps me move the furniture

"...every key
is like a different room
and I am a blind man who must learn
to walk through all twelve of them
without hitting the furniture."
(from "Piano Lessons" by Billy Collins)

So(h). I am 53 years old and taking piano lessons, not for the first time, but for the third time in my adult life. And it occurs to me, as I sit (too close to the piano), peering near-sightedly at the black notes dancing before my eyes (is that a D or a B?), did Glenn Gould ever say to his piano teacher, "Oh, but I played this fine at home"?

Why should Glenn Gould come to mind as I turn to page 8 of the Royal Conservatory of Music Celebration Series The Piano Odyssey? Ought he to figure in this at all? What has Glenn Gould got to do with Grade 7 piano?

Because more than once he has lifted one from dull ground and offered the sparkling spaces between notes and the temptation is too great: I want to be part of this too.

This is what I cling to as I sit on that bench, hoping against hope that Glenn will sit on my shoulder and help me avoid hitting the furniture.

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