I recalled how difficult it was for me to learn that Debussy solo in the tenth grade. The intertwining triplets and eighth notes never quite melded together, and my fingers would ache from practicing the first page over and over again. I would get so angry at my hands, at my nagging metronome, and at the black and white pages always staring back at me. I would listen to the song on repeat while going to sleep, immensely jealous of the pianist I pictured in my mind – a beautiful young woman, with long, elegant arms, moving delicately up and down the keyboard with no effort at all. Trollop.
|Photo by CHRISTINA KIM|
One day, back then, I sat down at the piano, and everything happened. Every triplet landed perfectly between each eighth note, yet not so perfectly enough to sound like I was trying. I learned the song in its entirety within two days, and suddenly the beautiful pianist in my mind seemed like less of a pompous bitch and more like a motivating peer, who I could push off the bench and take her place in due time.
Now, in this chaotic city, I’ve pulled out the piano bench and sat down. I’ve rested my fingers on the keys, but I haven’t begun to play. I don’t know when everything will fall into place, but I’m finally starting to believe that it will. There are times when I still get too forceful and I know I’m trying to hard – so I listen to Debussy.