No Strings Attached

I purchased a piano last October from a second-hand piano dealer in Inverness. It was a J D Cuthbertson & Co of Glasgow Ayr Paisley, Piano and it cost me £435, but, if, I was informed, I was ever wanting to purchase a subsequent newer model, then the man from Loch Ness Pianos said that he will deduct £435 from that new one.
The piano was bought on the strength of me having taken two piano lessons in Eden Court from tutor Susan Olbrich, although there was six, in the introductory course, in total. She had me making a sound resembling piano playing and that was inspirational.

Growing up in the West End of Glasgow it seemed to me, then, that having a piano in one’s house was quite common. My granny had one in an upstairs bedroom, and after she had sent us to the Free Church on a Sunday morning, in the afternoon, she would send us up to the bedroom, so the adults could discuss bingo winnings and jumble sales. Up there, was stacks of old Oor Wullie and Broons books, going back years, that were kept under the piano, but inside the stool, there was hunners of various sheet music.
I taught myself to play on that piano, with one hand only, mind, the following:

Isle of Capri,

Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes,

A Scottish Soldier

Move Over Darling.

There were various others, like Scot’s Wha Hae and Comin Thro the Rye, which weren’t so modern, so I didn’t like them so much!
In those days people called Auntie Jean or Uncle Matt, related, most likely, to me through drink, would belt out a tune with absolutely no problem, when visiting late on a Friday or Saturday.
A piano is a grand piece of furniture, and the one I have is mostly just that, a piece of furniture, but I will make a vow, now, that I will be playing those songs above, with all of my hands, soon, very soon.

I took guitar lessons in Skye, a couple of years ago, and loved it, but I never seen it through, so it tapered away.

I had a friend, Jake, a brilliant singer and guitar player, his big party hit being , ‘The House of The Rising Sun’ which would have you in tears, especially if one was cargoed up to the hilt with booze and wacky baccy, as was often the case when we got together. Jake died young, he walked in front of a train, not being able to handle the voices, that were telling him to kill his wife and daughter. That had me in tears too.

Then there was, Hazel, who had me playing the guitar and singing Christy Moore’s Ride On only last year. I was chuffed about that before, she rode off.

I have nephews and nieces who are great guitar players and my own son has a Higher in Music and is graded highly in piano playing.
Last year I took singing lessons from a top operatic talent, and he had me making a noise. Responding to my query, when I asked, ‘Well then, what do you think, Reno, will I be able to sing? , he replied, resembling Nathaniel Poe’s promise to Cora Munro in ‘The Last of The Mohicans ‘Yes, there is a voice in there, and we will find it, just you wait, whatever happens we will find it.” Still looking.

I bashed two fingers, once in the space of a fortnight, with a heavy mash hammer. I asked the consultant at the hospital, if I would be able to play the piano, once they were mended, to which he replied, Why, of course, to which I replied, Good, because I couldn’t play it before.
Boom Boom.
Drums, that’s another instrument I want to play, I took part in a free range session at last year Belladrum Music Festival, with anybody and everybody able to join in with all sorts of available percussion pieces. You canny beat that.

I do have, I believe, my own creativity, and I pursue it, but musical talent is something I crave.

I have had the privilege over the years to have many friends who are blessed with this gift. A current example of that is Maryann Frew.
She writes and sings her own stuff, songs of depth and feeling, accompanied by her own composed dreamy finger picking guitar acoustics, and as well as that, she is a talented piano player and skilled in playing many other musical instruments.
The type of artist whose dedication to her art, is about what she gives out, not what she gets out of it. Again, inspiring.
Like any honest, from-the-heart creativity, emotional pain, most likely precedes the resulting beauty of the particular art form, but then that is all the more reason to appreciate it, I say, and if we keep nurturing that talent, then we are all in with a chance.

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8 thoughts on “No Strings Attached

  1. I enjoyed this lovely, honest writing and I especially like what you said about Maryann of course, and agree completely with that, but you also explained your background in music and also your longing for musical expression so clearly it hurts. We’ll all hear you play Martha yet! And I look forward to it.

  2. Thank you so much for writing that John. I can tell you will be playing some beautiful music in no time and I bet you would write some great songs. Everything is there ready to come out of you, like my mum said there is a longing for it, the rest is easy peasy practice. Anyone can do that bit. I just know you could sound so good, you have so much feeling in you. I’m looking forward to hearing Martha too. Keep practicing and never ever give up. xxxx

    • Lovely piece of writing, John. I’m always, always deeply awestruck by musicians – mesmerised when watching their skill. One of my greatest regrets is never mastering a musical instrument.

  3. I’m certain we all have our own creativity John. You certainly have a gift of penmanship and expression. I was always spoiled in having gifted musicians around me to accompany my love of singing. Resultantly, I was lazy to learn to play an instrument and deeply regret that. A friend describes my guitar style as “ovenglove”. Three chords and a capo can get you out of most situations but its not the “way to go”. Your endeavours have inspired me to think about taking lessons, even now. Unlearning bad habits is an area where I’ve been before! All success , to you. I’m assuming Martha is the piano!

  4. I agree with you whole heartedly about Maryann’s musical talent she is a very skilled & emotionally in touch with her music. Maryann has a number of very talented musicians in her family, father, brother, sister, uncles etc. I truly wish that I was one of them but I’m tone deaf. Maryann has worked really hard on her music & I wish her every success with all that she does. I don’t know you John so am unable to comment upon your musical talent but I would like to say that as you are musical, no matter what happens , you must have mojo to play with feeling, so just enjoy it & keep playing. Good luck.

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