Did you know that today is Piano Day?
For the last few years lovers of the piano from all around the world have been celebrating their favourite instrument on this special day.
There are 88 keys on a conventional piano keyboard and today is the 88th day of the year.
If you visit the Piano Day website
you can read about different things piano enthusiasts are doing to celebrate the occasion.
I’ve still got some of my ABRSM exam books from the 1960s
so, for my Piano Day celebration, I’m going to play them all through and be thankful that my parents were so wonderful they paid for me to have piano lessons with an excellent teacher.
I play on a 1948 Squire upright
that I rent from Paregal Pianos. It’s a bit heavy on the action but has a lovely sound. It’s a joy to play but is soon going to need tuning again.
When I started learning to play the piano we had a Victorian upright which had been my dad’s since the nineteen thirties. I don’t know where it came from but originally it had candlesticks on each side of the music stand. The candlesticks had been removed at some point and pieces of inlaid wood fitted into the spaces.
The old piano was much taller than me and my sister. When our mum was out of the way we’d put a chair at one end of the piano, climb up on top and jump off the other end onto the new, very bouncy settee.
The piano accompanied our family on several house moves but was eventually replaced in the early 1970s when my dad had saved up enough to buy a new one. I was home from college and was looking forward to having a go on the new instrument which I knew was to be supplied by a piano dealership named Hall’s. One afternoon the phone rang and the person on the other end asked to speak to my dad saying they were calling on behalf of Mr Hall. “Oh, is it about the new piano?” I enquired thinking they must be phoning to arrange delivery. “No, it’s the hospital here. Can you ask him to give us a call as soon as possible, please.”
You can imagine my horror and worry. I was about nineteen years old and until then hadn’t had much to do with health problems. I phoned my mum at work to pass on the message and demanded to know what was going on. She tried to placate me and said she’d explain at teatime. The next couple of hours dragged by extremely slowly.
Eventually, the parents came home from work and were adamant there wasn’t anything to worry about. Dad was going to have a vasectomy and the phone call was from the surgeon (Mr Hall) about his appointment. What? This medical term wasn’t in my vocabulary at that time so needed to be explained. And my teenage brain found this very difficult to process. We might have had the Swinging Sixties and be moving towards the Summer of Love but not for the parents!
The new piano duly arrived and was lovely. The manufacturer was Kastner and the piano had a beautiful, sweet tone. After the deaths of my parents, the piano came to live with us. Michael and I enjoyed its company for over twenty years. Even though it nearly caused multiple heart failure for the piano movers who carried it up four flights of stairs to our top floor London flat.
When my niece was about seven she decided to take up piano and we thought it would be a good thing for her to learn on her grandad’s piano. I swapped the piano for my sister’s electronic keyboard and enjoyed hours of fun exploring the 64 voices built into the keyboard in addition to several different piano sounds.
But by 2018 I yearned for an acoustic piano again and so rented the instrument I’m using today to celebrate Piano Day.
Thanks for reading my blog today. Hope your day is going well. If you’re stocking up your Kindle for the holiday season visit our website for details of some books you might have missed.