Sunday, November 16, 2008

Taking the children out for a walk

The left hand continues to do battle with the right hand.
Or perhaps, more accurately, I am doing battle with both. They are like a couple of recalcitrant children, wanting to go their own ways. If that wasn't trying enough, each brings its own temperament to the keyboard. The right hand, smugly content in having the melody most of the time and getting the most attention by the mere fact that I am right-handed, smirks as I play a passage in the left hand endlessly. Look, it's like this, the neurons are telling it, trying to keep exasperation from taking over; there you go, you separated those notes very nicely -- no, you joined them AGAIN! Try it again...
Still with the Couperin; surprisingly, it hasn't killed my love for the baroque period. But training the left hand to be independent, to NOT do what the right hand is doing, is getting to be a questionable pursuit. Is it possible at age 53 to reclaim a dubious mastery of baroque technique shoddily managed more than a decade and a half ago? I say shoddily managed because unlike many adults, I did not learn piano as a child. My parents offered piano lessons to my three siblings, but, strangely, not to me. Perhaps they were wiser than I gave them credit for.
It was as an idealistic parent of young children that I seized upon the idea of learning piano (properly), along with my 6-year-old. Never mind that she was destined to surpass me. For a few years, anyway, I could lord my sonatinas over her Twinkle variations. Besides, piano teachers patiently look the other way when adult beginners never reach the suggested M.M. of a piece. They understand that adults often operate under a fog.
So for the nth time, I attempt an outing with the left and right hands. They start off all right, happy creatures enjoying one another's company for the first few bars. Then it happens. The left hand starts to join its notes; I stop and scold. It responds by doing what it wants and starts to not only join all the notes but slurring them as well. Going for broke.
It isn't fair. I have practised. It has worked out. The left hand and right hand have sometimes been quite companionable. To quote Glenn:
"It's true that I've driven through a number of red lights, but on the other hand I've stopped at a lot of green ones."
Glenn, you the man.

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