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Home and Building, Volume 18 Number 1 (June 1955)


Last month we went into the matter of getting yourself a piano. We didn't ask the reason why. Maybe you've been thinking the children ought to have the opportunities you were denied or that it would be a handy thing to have round the house when piano-playing visitors call for the evening. Or maybe, better still, you have a yen to play the piano yourself—now the children are off your hands and you have a bit of time to yourself. Well, why not?

"But I'm too old" you'll be saying. Well, that's the end of it. If you're too old, you're too old. But you said it. You are only as old as you think you are. Piano playing asks little more of your mind or your muscles than most other things about the place. You can sew, knit, perhaps type, mow the lawn or pull a cork. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that these were prerequisite for playing the piano or even indications that you might succeed in this skill, at least it seems you have a pair of hands and ten fingers, which is a reasonable enough basic requirement.

"But" you say, "won't my muscles have stiffened up with years of non-piano playing?" Well, if you aspire to be a Myra Hess, a Colin Horsley a Shura Cherkassky or Julius Katchen, perhaps it would be less frustrating to stick to your knitting. Being a concert pianist is something like going to Eton. You have to put your name down for it early in life, and nine times out of ten you may ask yourself after you have been through it all: | "Was it worth while?".

If all you ask of the piano, however, is the pleasure of making music for yourself, of playing accompaniments—not too difficult—for your friends, or of even enjoying in private a little chamber music with the violinist (amateur) down the road, then, having two hands and ten fingers, there is only one additional basic need. You must want to do it, want to do it so much that you don't mind giving up the radio for thirty minutes or so each evening, being-prepared to leave the dishes over, or to cut one mowing of the lawn a month. And you must be prepared too, to stand up equably to the initial difficulties; or to stand up to them anyway. It will probably be your family who will need the equability.

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