Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I'm getting a new piano today!

2007 non-resolutions: blog more, code more, do a great job as an Altarena Playhouse board member, do great research in the Berkeley RAD Lab. Yep, I'm upgrading from a really good piano (Steinway Model M) to an insanely great one (Steinway Model A). How can I justify the added cost? I can't. It's a luxury. But hey, people spend more money than this on cars, and this will last longer, get used more, and bring us a lot more joy. The big lesson from this experience is how hard it is to let go of an instrument. As much as I'm looking forward to the superior tone and action of the Model A (hey, it better be, for the trade-up price!), Tonia and I were both surprised at how attached we've become to our little M. It's hard to dissociate the physical instrument from the memories that surround it - we've celebrated three Christmases with friends singing around it, had impromptu concerts and jams, rehearsed musicals, and I've certainly poured out my sorrows to it over the occasional bourbon. I even wrote a Paddington-bear-style "Please take care of this piano" letter to accompany it to the Walnut Creek Sherman Clay store, where it'll be touched up and sold as a previously-owned piano. I think it wouldn't be quite the same with a smaller/portable/solo instrument - the piano is necessarily stationary, so the action comes to it. It becomes part of the scenery, part of the house, part of the furniture. And as much of a Steinway fan as I am, I have no doubt, knowing what i know now, that it would've been the same with any brand that was at least reasonably good. You'd think after playing piano for almost 35 years, I would have known to expect that level of emotional attachment to a particular instrument. You learn something new every day.

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