The Challenges I Faced While learning How to Play Piano

Sep 4th 2010 at 5:22 PM

Since my childhood days, music has been the food of my soul. I knew I had the gift inborn in me. I had so a great zeal for music that I requested my mum to get me a toy piano keyboard at the age of 9. You might as well ask me what I am doing with a toy piano. Just like a film, I found myself learning the sounds.

I listen to different musics both on radio and television. I tried to grab the sounds and retain them in my memory. Then I had to sit down, recollect the sounds and try to play the music using trial and error method. I hand to spend many hours in order to learn and get the correct key sequences into my head.

At the age of 13 years I was enrolled into a seminary school, in my first year in the school, I was happy that the seminary had so many organs (large keyboards and pianos) and even guitar; I had to bend down everyday to see how I can become a professional in playing piano. You might be asking as well whether I was reading at all? Yes, I had time for my reading. In the seminary, the time of every activity is signaled with the ringing of a bell. Now I am not a fan of football and don’t think I would ever become one. My passion was music, and how I will get to the top of the world being ‘guru’ in the world of musical instruments.

My dear, it was not an easy task. I had to sacrifice all my games period to achieve this single and honorable goal. Do you know that whenever you are trying to move against the crowd, people will call you a lot names and say all sort of things to discourage you. My friends started asking me why I prefer learning the keyboard to playing football or doing any other games. They started calling me names like ‘Eze piano’ (that means the teeth of a piano). My dear it was a very funny and stunning experience it had to sacrifice all my night recreations and games to see I achieve my dreams despite all circumstances surrounding me.

Initially, those who were learning this piano with me were about 30 in number. But as time went on, number thinned down gradually to twenty, then to ten, and finally to five. We five were the remaining serious ones. Our friends laughed at us while we were struggling during our first year in the secondary school (seminary school).

One thing that motivated me all along was this very word of Bob Gass. In his book “Discovering your Destiny” he writes; “Just shake it off and step on it” so I had to shake off all he shame, injurious names and attitudes that my closet friends had towards me. I had to move on with courage and face the further.

During over 2nd term in that academic session, I had already learnt for keys: keys A, F, C and G. I was so perfect in them that I had to play all the songs I had ever learnt use these keys only. I continued to do this until one day, my teacher warned me sternly that if I did not finish learning the other keys he would punish me severely, imagine the numerous black and white keys in a piano facing an inexperienced keyboardist like me. I had to discipline my body and I said to my self “Get up and work! You can make it with persistence I decided to persist in doing the same things over and over again until I learned it". I tried to make sure that I don’t see any key as the easiest or the hardest, because I believed in WYSIWYG -‘What you see is what you get’. I my mind’s eyes I believe that one day I will get across all these, then I will have time to laugh at my friends who once laughed at me.

The piano is a musical instrument made up of seven white keys (A, B, C, D, E, F, and G), and five black keys (C sharp, D sharp, F sharp, G sharp and A sharp) or flats depending on the naming system.

During the 3rd term of my first year in the secondary school (seminary), I was already 90% percent in playing the whole seven white keys. In fact, I found out that key A and E were somehow similar, while key C, F and G had very minute differences. Having seen that I was making a distinctive progress, I had to encourage my self the more, because Charles Lindberg once said that success is not measured by what a man accomplishes, but the oppositions he encountered and the courage he maintained in the struggle. I decided that no amount of failure would prevent me from reading how to play the remaining five black keys of my piano/keyboard.

The black keys of a piano/keyboard are named based on a certain rule; if the black key is directly a while key, it is called the ‘flat of the white key it is following on the other hand, if a black key occurs immediately after a white key, it is called the ‘sharp’ of that white key. So, key B flat is the same key as key A sharp, while key F sharp remain the same as key G flat. The naming of these keys confused me a little bit, but because of my rule of ‘stick-to-it’ or ‘persistence’ I continued to study and learn them until they became part of me. My dear I may say that learning the black keys took me more time because it seemed to me as moving from a ‘white world’ to a ‘black world’, or rather moving from ‘dark room’ to a ‘well-it room’.

My joy at the end of it all was that during my second year in the seminary, I was know at least playing all the keys, at least 80% efficiently well. Those my friends who were the laughing at me and calling me all sorts of names during the first year in the school were now begging me to teach them how to play the keyboard. Do you see the irony of life? It is only he who laughs last that laughs best.

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