The Old Piano

I took piano lessons when I was a girl.

The whole family lived in Davao back then. I can’t remember if it was my mother who insisted or I was insistent on wanting to play the piano badly. Next thing I knew, I was in piano school.

Mom enrolled me to Fernandez Piano School, the same school where my mom had her formal piano lessons; I recall seeing some old photos of her as a young woman as she was having her recital. She bought me those music books, which I willy-nilly (out of excitement) wrote on the exercise pages until my nanny told me that I shouldn’t have done that.

I come to the school twice a week, my teachers are quite stern but nice and in the end of the day they write my homework/next lessons on my notebook. When I finish a section of the lesson, I was take  to the headmaster’s office to play a piece from my book. She grades me afterwards, it was nerve wracking as the she seemed more stricter than all of the teachers. She had an air of sophistication, elegant, and demure but had that stern appearance. I remember so little of the interior of her office, but I recall it smelled of Spanish decent and old Narra wood and the aura felt…commanding? I forgot to mention that the school was also the headmaster’s house, looked like it’s one of those houses that was built during the Colonial period with the stone base, wooden staircases, and  the photos of the students in their recital adorned the lobby wall. The place was filled with people: students, and teachers with a couple caretakers coming in left and right.

How long did I take lessons? Maybe 3 months? 4 months? I didn’t know how to tell time or count the days or the hours. During off days my mother would remind me of my homework, sometimes practice my sheet lesson, then it all stopped when the whole family moved back to Manila. I still know how to read notes but slowly forgetting since I stopped playing. Until one day, I can’t read sheet music anymore. The only things I remember are the scales, the tempo, the beat…that’s it.

I’m not as passionate to play music as I am with drawing or doing graphic design, though I still think back what if I pursued music instead like what my mother did? Though she chose having a family over a career, she doesn’t regret the decision but the what ifs sometimes pass my mind. A small hint of regret but at the same time, I’m happy with what I chose, I am just glad that I still get to appreciate the things that was given to me (even if I realized that I have taken it for granted).

Now you’re wondering why the sudden write up about me taking piano lessons? The thing is because I remembered our piano, it’s still here and it’s still alive though it’s not like what it was anymore, but it still plays and it doesn’t sound crinkly, one of the pedals doesn’t work and a couple of keys don’t play, plus the chair was recently refurbished since the wood’s surface started peeling a couple of years ago. I’m just amazed that it’s still here.

Maybe, just maybe I might take some time to relearn my notes.



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