The spark re-ignites

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.

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2 responses

  1. Just wanted to say that I find reading your journey of being back to the piano fascinating and helpful. Simply because I’m starting on a similar journey. I hadn’t properly played the piano for close to 15 yrs. In fact I pretty much stayed away from classical music as I was burned out after pursuing piano studies in London, not to mention realizing how incredibly untalented I was in the bigger frame of things. A couple of years back I started learning the cello, but all it did was to spark back my love of the piano.

    I am now slowly attempting to get my fingers back. It is really hard, but I feel a faint whiff of hope reading your blog. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • So sorry for taking so long to reply. Things have been ultra-busy for me at home and at work. Too many things happening. The new year is looking equally packed!

      Haha! I too abandoned the piano way back in the early 1980’s because I realized my talent was little but ambition large. And I too returned to the piano after dabbling with a string instrument for a while. In my case it was the violin. I knew I was doing the wrong thing when I my dear professional violin friend cracked up in laughter when I told her what I was doing. It didn’t take long for me to buy the Kawai K8 after that!

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