I do a lot of business travel for my job, and use the airlines like a very expensive bus service. Back in the middle of 2006 I was going through a particularly heavy two or three months of travel and was feeling frustrated and burned out. I was even thinking of quitting and going back to teaching, willing even to take a major hit on my income. What I needed was something that would allow my mind to focus on something else other than work, to recharge a little.
Get a life, whispered a little voice in my mind.
A few years earlier I tried to scratch the musical itch by buying an inexpensive, but surprisingly decent second-hand Suzuki violin from the deputy leader of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. I told her that I wanted to pick up the violin, maybe self-teach from the one of the violin method books (I can’t remember which one now). She started to giggle and wished me luck. After a few weeks I found out why. I might have kept at it, except that my cat got stressed out every time I practiced.
So now I thought that maybe I should consider the piano instead. I had stopped playing the piano about 25 years earlier, due largely to having a musical ambition that was frustrated by an inadequate technique and lack of proper teaching. Although I had dabbled with electronic keyboards, including a pretty decent MIDI rig, it was subconsciously not fulfilling. There was of course the fact that I didn’t have a piano.
Get a piano, whispered the voice.
So I started to look half-heartedly for a second-hand upright. Maybe I might be able to get something really decent for about S$5,000. Frustration quickly set in. Although I had played the piano as a child and teenager, I knew absolutely nothing about how to go about selecting one, let alone a second-one with an unknown ownership history. Besides, my heavy travel schedule meant that I just didn’t have time to spend weekend after weekend doing the rounds of the piano shops and looking through classified ads in the newspaper.
So I started to think that maybe a new piano might be a better proposition. To cut a long story short, I ended up with a Kawai K-8 upright piano. At S$12,600 it was rather more than double my original S$5,000 budget. The piano was was delivered in December 2006.