Grand Pianos and Pianists - monday 2009-05-11 0731 last modified 2009-05-11 0731
Categories: Daily Grind
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I shyly tiptoed around the lately abandoned piano sitting in my new Hollywood residence for a few months. It remained a lyrical but silent place to put bouquets and plaques. Then I finally sat down, trying to pick up where I left off thirteen years ago. My fingers remembered just a little, enough to get the rest of me involved in tracking down piece names and sheet music from my classical training. Somehow the intervening baker's dozen of years has given me a new appreciation for the preceding decade of training I was provided, the hard-bought ability, long unused and unpracticed, to read and memorize scores and, in time, translate them to something dynamic, emotionally engaging, musical. Moreover, I now find the experience personally satisfying; the old resentment of spending too much time at the piano and not enough in front of cartoons is long gone, and I am more than pleased to trade one keyboard for another. This is a funny transition to have made. I didn't expect to come back to piano in any real way, having let it go adrift in the vast sea of potential human activity. But here it is, and I welcome its return.

But I can tell immediately the box piano isn't going to keep me. I may not have been able to tell so readily as a child the difference between the upright at home and the two grand pianos my instructor had in her teaching room. It stares me in the face now. Are there grand pianos available to just practice and play in this city? For that matter, do people who enjoy playing classical music... do... anything together? The concept is kind of foreign for me as an adult. Kids had recitals and sometimes competitions. What do the big nonprofessional kids do now?


prayer houses w...

prayer houses & worship bands are fun. grand pianos are beautiful.

yining :) on May 11, 2009 11:18 PM

Piano: "Ryan's back!"

Am curious to know what you played, what type of music you like to play in general, and what you'd like to be able to play in the future.

Grand pianos - even if they are baby grands - usually have a better sound quality and 'aesthetic presence.' You can place it any way you wish and enjoy a better rapport with your audience with the sound board placed horizontally.

I don't know of any grand pianos available to the public for playing. If you find out, let me know. Occasionally, I get to play on the grand in Payton 101 at Fuller or on the one in my church in Covina before the service.

The BNPKs could get together and engage in chamber music, play duets (pieces for four hands), accompany singers, have mini-recitals, or just play for friends.

If your piano playing is even half as beautiful and poetic as your writing, I think I shall really enjoy it. :)

Kiona Rhee on May 12, 2009 05:53 AM

I'd like to get ...

I'd like to get the collected works of Chopin. Rachmaninoff is appealing. Right now I'm working on one of each, along with classic Beethoven - stuff I once had memorized. There's a lot out there, I'm thinking of adding Rimsky-Korsakoff's The Flight of the Bumblebee in and pursuing some Debussy too.

There are probably practice rooms around here for pros, but free is the key. Maybe raid piano stores?

Ryan Lee on May 13, 2009 01:51 AM


My ultimate favorites are J.S. Bach and Rachmaninov but I can almost always find a favorite piece among all the other composers.

The pieces that unlock my heart are lyrical, melancholic, and passionate. The piano has always sounded the best when the composition expressed my deepest longings, the cry of my heart for peace (yeah, I want world peace too! ;) ), a sense of belonging, love; beauty in the midst of pain, and (sometimes) strength and raging passion.

May your time at the piano be one of renewed joy as you transfer your thoughts and emotions into this beautiful language.

Kiona Rhee on May 13, 2009 04:54 AM

Did you know we ...

Did you know we have access to recordings of Rachmaninoff? That blew my mind. His compositions are full of that strength and raging passion, but his performance, that translation of mere notes and dynamic markings, is just beyond.

Melancholy, there's another apt descriptor for pieces I feel drawn to. I'd highly recommend Chopin nocturnes for more melancholy.

Ryan Lee on May 14, 2009 07:41 AM

in the midst of ...

in the midst of east LA, on a small campus, in the center of an often-deserted auditorium, lies an old Steinway grand... some of the surfaces of the keys are broken off but it still plays beautifully, and the nice people living downstairs in the media room hold the key to the door.

yining :) on May 14, 2009 10:04 PM

To which campus ...

To which campus do you refer, or shall I find out via a different communications channel?

Ryan Lee on May 18, 2009 06:06 AM

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