Thursday, March 13, 2008


My piano is 29 years old. It is actually my second piano. When I first started learning the piano at age seven, my dad got me a used one. I guess he wanted to make sure I was serious about the instrument before he spent more for a brand new one.

This faithful Kawai has been with me since I was 11 years old. I think it was a reward for scoring straight A's in the then Standard Five primary school assessment exam. Now that I look back, I wonder why I didn't give it a name other than 'piano'.

Piano was my companion in my teenage years when I was really into pop music (those yesteryears of the 80's of Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Footloose, American Top 40 with Casey Kasem...sigh...). I would play all the pop songs I could get my hands on of the scores or play them by ear. Sometimes, my good friend, neighbour and classmate Elaine would come over and we'd belt out the songs together with Piano, much to my next door neighbour's annoyance! But we didn't care as long as we had a good time. Actually, I think our voices were pretty good!

Later, I went to Penang for university, I missed Piano. When I discovered that one of the lecture halls housed a grand piano, I brought some of my music pieces to Penang and sneaked into the lecture hall when it was vacant during my free time to satisfy my nostalgia. When I lived off-campus, the owner of the room I rented had a piano in the house. I also played their piano secretly when they were out.

Piano got a bit neglected during my four years in Penang and when I started working life in KL. It remained in my parents' home until the day I moved into my own apartment nine years ago. I played it a little more but soon other interests crept in, taking away whatever little quality time Piano and I had.

Now, for the past one year, Piano has received a new owner in the form of my soon-to-be six-year-old Caitlin. She plays Piano more often than me. Because of that, Piano has received renewed tender loving care. Due to age, Piano has received two tunings in six-month intervals. I foresee another tuning in the next six months when we move it to our new home.

I should keep Piano for as long as possible. Good ones are very expensive nowadays, and I'm not even talking about the new-tech types which run on electricity like the digital pianos or clavinovas. Maybe I'm from the old school of pianists but I still prefer the original, 'normal' pianos to the digital ones. The upright piano is what most middle-class families have but it would truly be a pleasure to own a baby grand, if not a concert grand!

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