When you sit down to play piano, do you take a moment to find your center before you begin to play?
The activity of playing a piano is quite different than the activities you were engaged in before you decided to sit down and play. It is also exclusive of the things you were doing. Sitting at a piano involves a very important step which many pianists forget: do nothing, just sit there.
There is a contemplation which occurs when you sit quietly at a piano. It is here that you let the noise of the day drift into silence. You let your body relax, listen as your heartbeat and breathing rate slows. You meditate on where you are, how you feel, and the relationship you have with the instrument that is before you.
It is called reverence. There is a moment, however brief, where one can achieve a heightened sense of appreciation for the majesty of the instrument, for the activity of playing, for the exclusive privilege of being permitted to play this piano, in this moment. Somewhere in the process is a sigh. Remove the tension from your shoulders. Be aware of how you feel. Reach out and make your first touch a gentle one.
One finger. One key. Establish your intimacy with the instrument. This is where the animate joins the inanimate. One key slowly depressed begins the courtship. Try a chord. Listen. The piano is alive. Now comes the romance.
How many say they love piano, but skip the romance? Romance is an attitude. Oh sure, on that rare occasion when you sit at an incredibly expensive piano, one that exudes perfection in every note, it is easy to be overcome with the feeling of awe. But that is not romance. Romance is possible only if you remain intently aware of all of the nuances of the love you have for the instrument. Take nothing for granted.
In the morning I will play one note and listen to the harmonics as the sound warms the air. It took 300 years to make that sound possible. It took hundreds of people to bring that sound into my room. I sit alone in a single moment, listening to a chorus of unified harmonics that beckoned the attention and appreciation of all of the great Masters.
If you can not hear one note, how will you ever hear many?