After several years of being a little intimidated by the keyboard, its contours suddenly began to feel friendly, familiar, home-like. The hurried advice I had from Flora (my Sauchiehall St teacher) at last fell on fertile ground: it's actually much easier with your wrists high... It's ok to lean forward... Those two half hour lessons back in October have got me out of the barren place I was in during the summer, wondering, where the hell am I going with this?
So I got online and ordered the ABRSM Piano grade 1 pieces for 2015/16, though God knows when they'll arrive out here. And tonight I went back to the scales in the syllabus, single handed and all the proper fingers, as required. I know I want to play all the 20th century popular classics, from Ivor Novello to The Pogues, and of course Tom Waits, but I need a bit of structure to get me there, so with a little help from the ABRSM and wee Flora, I'm going to do all of the grades, starting with 1 in June. Everything I've done so far has been leading to this - grade 1, I've read, is not for beginners, but I'm past that now, I can do it with an hour a day. And then a grade every six months, maybe a year, depending on how life goes. And once I get to Grade 8, I've also read, I'll be a good quality amateur, and ready to go where the fancy takes me, blues or jazz or folk. I might even try the accordion. But I need my ABRSM straight piano chops first.
I have a road map, and I'm on my way. Whilst waiting for the ABRSM pieces to get here, I've got the Lynda Frith Grade 1 pieces to keep me going, and that feels like the right thing to do: learning as many as I can, but seeing them as steps on the road, learning devices, not really as pieces to be performed per se - though I will get them all on YouTube, to garner advice and bring an element of performance. And motivation. Now, I'm pushed to get We Wish You a Merry Christmas done (obviously) before Christmas, get it on FaceBook and show off my elevated wrists and high-up-the-keys style.