The Piano and Life – A Wayward Rambling

Before I discovered the violin, I grew up playing the piano and this post felt like a trip down memory lane.

The Wayward Warrior


“If music be the food of love, play on,” Shakespeare wrote for the opening line of the play ‘Twelfth Night’, a classic line with deep meaning which I have spent many hours of my life trying to fulfill. In many ways I have often felt as Duke Orsino must have felt – pining for the unobtainable and falling fowl of my own choices!

I was 5 years old when I first started to produce music, playing the recorder at school. I learnt to read music at the same time as I learnt to read words! At 9, I started piano lessons. What a joy to sit at this amazing instrument with its array of keys, strings stretched and hidden behind beautiful wood panels, and the two strange pedals (what were they for, I wondered, as my feet stretched to touch them? Imagine my joy, and a little confusion, when I…

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5 thoughts on “The Piano and Life – A Wayward Rambling

  1. roweeee Post author

    Rob, I really did enjoy your post. You might have realised that I have a bit of a dark sense of humour and the worse things are, the funnier I get…a great compensation mechanism. Anyway, while visiting my parents after a chemo treatment last year, I asked my husband to record me playing Moonlight Sonata with the band aids on: By the way, the grand piano in the photo belonged to my late grandmother who was an international concert pianist back in her day. Here is her obituary, which we’re not entirely keen on but I do love the photo: My grandmother who not have liked the reference to the laundry in the heading. She was a very head strong and independent woman and it sounds very domestic to me. She was in a different league with her music to mere mortals, which became quite evident when she was with her pupils. There was the intense spark almost like a love affair. Boom!

  2. Rob McShane

    Stunning, thanks for the links – I will go visit.
    I made a choice when I was 18 between the Royal School of Music and a potential concert pianist or emigrating from the UK to South Africa. I have never regretted taking the latter option (have had a full life) but one wonders sometimes ‘What if?’ and I lived without a piano for several years which was excrutiating! I finally bought a baby grand and subsequently lost that a few years later during a bad financial period after a divorce! Now, however, the MS makes it extremely difficult to play (arms go into spasm) so one adapts and moves on! 🙂
    Thanks for the info on your grandmother – how exciting!

  3. roweeee Post author

    Rob, I find it hard trying to remember all the details when I’m blogging with people and the names don’t match the blog titles so I apologise for “forgetting” about your MS. While I was having my infusions of IVIG, I met a guy with MS who was a child prodigy violinist and attending the Guilliard School in New York and had an impressive career before the MS took hold. He couldn’t play anymore. He had the darkest, funniest wit. There’s an old cemetery next to the hospital and he joked to the nurse “that’s where your failures go, is it?” He told me the nurse didn’t laugh. I’m sorry the MS has affected your playing so much. Both my grandmother and my mother being impassioned pianists, I have some insight into the loss. I am also a photographer and I have an incredibly close relationship with my camera and our zoom lens has died and our finances aren’t the best at the moment so can’t just run out and buy a replacement. Making do but…
    By the way, have you heard of a book called: “The Brain which Changes Itself” and “The Brain’s Way of Healing”. These look at neuroplasticity and could help your MS.
    Re moving to South Africa, my grandmother went to New York for a year to make her US debut back in 1948 and it didn’t go so well and she always wished she’d gone back to the UK. There are also tales of musicians moving on for love. <y grandmother practiced about 5 hours a day so you can't keep that up forever.
    Take care and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    Best wishes,

  4. Rob McShane

    No problem re the MS Rowena. Many people deal with much worse! Do hope you can replace your zoom lens soon – money can be such a pain sometimes hey! Thank you for sharing your stories! I will look into your book references – thanks. Have an awesome day! 🙂

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