I used to learn the piano.
I was dragged, kicking and screaming and sulking my way to piano lessons since I was maybe 7 or 8 years old.
Looking back it was something I took for granted.
I could read notes. And in all honesty I was never really good.
I could work my way to playing a song...from a book, of course; I never got the skill to play-by-ear and improvise.
I only practiced while waiting for my ride to school and when exams were near.
Piano lessons wasn't something i bragged about, it was just part of my weekly routine; and i play just enough to satisfy my mum and my piano teacher.
Occasionally my sis and I would sit and somehow figure the melody of popular songs we liked.
When I was in Form 4 I was sent to MRSM. All piano lessons stopped. I was actually learning my Grade 5 exam pieces then, but it was logistically impossible to continue. There was no piano in MRSM that I could practise on, and there wasn't any suitable time to do so: I was part of a different routine.
One day during riadah my friend Aizaan and I went into the school hall and found a piano. I dont know why I hadnt noticed it before.
The piano was unlocked.
And the two of us took turns playing (man, she was good) and played duets. This went on for weeks.
Perhaps the 'covert operation' of piano playing made it more interesting, of course to the frothing disapproval of our seniors.....who somehow could accept piano playing during the weekly school assembly later on.
A few months later, the piano was locked once again and that was probably the last time I played.
That was 10 years ago.
During my years in med school, i did play the piano maybe once year when I was back home in Penang...just as finger exercise to maintain some degree of dexterity.
Why the sudden reminiscence?
Well my housemate bought a keyboard a few weeks ago. She's very much interested in taking lessons.
I asked for her permission to play and once my fingers hit the keys, I felt young.
My fingering has gotten clumsy over the years and the pressure of my key strokes weaker and uneven. I could barely play the scales without my fingers tripping over each other.
Coordination was all over the place.
I couldn't remember the songs i used to play. The chords sound wrong.
Somehow now it didnt matter.
I was transported back to a time when I would sit and practise my exam pieces with a kind of unflinching focus.
And I realized I actually like that feeling; focused and working on something.
It was like a revelation, that playing the piano, even from way back then, puts me in a kind of meditative trance...and it is therapeutic.
After a few more days/times of playing, I found myself figuring melodies again.
For now, even uncoordinated tuneless playing for 15mins give me a cathartic release I'm unable to find elsewhere.
I'll take what I can get.
Perhaps it is time I search for some piano books and re-learn; just enough to play for myself.
OK at least i got that out of my system.