My mother tried to teach me piano when I was 5 but I cried too much when I did something wrong, so she sent me to this elderly woman across the street. I took one formal year of lessons, but the old woman got sick (I think that’s how the story goes) and it was just me and my mother’s Everett upright at home. I’d hear her play, or my Grandmother, and I knew that it was a special thing. I started teaching myself how to play, and when I pursued the clarinet for 8 years throughout grade school, I took what I learned and just let myself go wild with the piano keys. I never took formal lessons again, nor did I teach myself all the classics like traditional pianists would – all I basically did was create. I thought up songs, thought of rhythms and sequences I couldn’t physically perform yet, and I practiced until I could. It only felt right to do so. I knew where I wanted the sounds to go, and I would make it happen, whatever it took. I had a whole library of songs I had composed in my head, kept them there, never wrote them down. I am the third generation of piano players in my family, all on the same keys and foot pedals, the degrading finish, the scuffs and refurbished innards. By now, the piano has to be at least 70 years old.
But since pursuing athletics and my nomadic life, my inherited piano has been sitting in a storage unit in Southern California since 2012. I miss it. I spent many hours practicing and feeling things that can’t be felt through anything else. The euphoria of performing a song you wrote, with all the sensitivity of an adolescent teenager and blossoming woman, was something I will never forget. The piano is definitely my soul instrument, if such a thing were to exist. Yet, like a ghost lost to memory, all those songs have faded, that girl long forgotten.
There is guilt. There is a sense of helplessness when I think about it, too. I don’t have a home for it. And the longer I go without playing, the more I feel like I’ve wasted what talent I may have had. So that is the goal, the dream, to bring piano back into my life not only when it makes sense, but hopefully sooner than that. Because it doesn’t have to make sense. Music is almost instinct now. At least, the piano is, for me. It speaks to me like nothing else. It transcends time and body, from player to listener like the weight of gravity suddenly becoming self-aware – how sounds reverberate breath into the lungs, sweet and slow, or with an aggressive desperation to bring to fruition a thought, a touch, a sideways glance, a reason to exist. It is romantic – yes, but it is powerful language.
The dream with this page is to share the music I have created with others, to offer another part of myself that coincides with writing itself. I don’t know if this is normal or kosher, but it is me. The outdoors tell musical stories as well, so once I get the piano back in my life I will gladly compose piano songs inspired by my travels and time spent in nature.
Old Songs/Terrible Recordings by Sara
2009 – “Untitled”
2010 – “Untitled on a Half-Tuned Piano”
2011 – “Dune” (Probably my favorite)
2012 – Fringe Dancing
(Uncle’s Piano in Texas) 2014 – “Natalie”
(Uncle’s Piano in Texas) 2014 – “The Day Dream”
2014 – “We’ll Find Love”
2015 – “Oh Home, My Wilderness”