The Piano

Do you love classical music?  No?  That’s too bad because I wanted to play a song for you.  If you change your mind, first I will need a moment to retrieve a pair of vinyl gloves.

A few days ago I heard a fantastic piece on the classical radio station.  It was Haydn’s Piano Sonata No. 48.  It reawakened in me the desire to play.  I don’t play much anymore.  Do I need to say that it is due to my OCD?  My parents gave me a wonderful gift.  They allowed me to take piano lessons for several years.  Learning to play was not the only gift; I also discovered that I love classical music, which my parents did not.  As I grew older, I came to appreciate orchestral pieces in addition to piano.  This led to many glorious evenings at the symphony with friends.

Keeping something as large as a piano clean is tricky, if not impossible.  My first brush with reality in this regard came when I was still living with my parents.  I always kept two or three favorite music books out on the piano, and one day I walked into the living room where the piano was to find that my father was using one of my beloved books as a sturdy backing while he wrote on a piece of paper.  I was upset, but I didn’t make a big issue of it because the damage was done and it couldn’t be rectified.  And I was the one with the problem; my dad wasn’t doing anything that a person in any normal family wouldn’t do.  On the other hand, it felt as though it were an egregious betrayal.  Why would anyone else in the house have a reason to touch my music books?  None of them played, so I had assumed that my books were safe.

From there it went downhill.  If a visitor touched my piano, I would wipe off the keys and be done with it.  But as I became more aware of cross-contamination and the lack of basic hygiene among the majority of people, the more uncomfortable I felt when I sat down to play.  The books were even worse than the piano itself.  What do you do with a contaminated book?  As painful as it was to lose my books and my piano to contamination, I also couldn’t bring myself to forbid others to touch it.  All of my nieces and nephews spent many hours entertaining themselves at the piano, and my tiny grandniece had her first taste of it at her last visit.  I did the same thing as a small child at my grandmother’s house, and I can’t bring myself to take away the precious memories from my loved ones.

What does that mean for me today?  I have two options.  The first is to play with gloves, which reduces my agility and prevents me from feeling as one with the instrument.  The second option is to use my bare hands with the realization that I will have to endure a super-wash afterwards, which I dread.  The result is that I rarely play because I don’t like either option.  So it seems that my music is another casualty of OCD.

I’m not giving up, though.  That Haydn sonata rekindled the spark, not only to play, but to play something new.  The recording of the sonata is now on my list of music to buy, and now I have to figure out where to buy sheet music these days because I haven’t bought any in so long.  It is my determination to learn the sonata myself even if the circumstances are not optimal.  Perhaps in the future I will have a new “clean” piano and new books and make a fresh start.

About admin

I am a female in my early 40's who has been dealing with OCD since age 10 and a fear of germs since 14.
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One Response to The Piano

  1. Odin says:

    Oh my, this is so sad, you really got me with this post! Seriously, don’t let OCD take music away from you, you have to win it back. I’ve lost various things to OCD, but if I lose the piano, I’ve lost completely. Granted, I sometimes only manage to play it once a week (I play in gloves – doubled up – meaning I can only play when there’s no-one around and I have plenty of gloves in stock) instead of every day, which is what I would wish. But it’s battle I absolutely refuse to lose. I agree that playing in gloves is severely limiting – I had a run through Beethoven’s Pathetique today and my left hand was aching like anything from playing those 1st movement fast octave tremolos with two gloves on – but it is always better than nothing.

    Why don’t you buy an electric piano, something you can put away in its box when visitors are coming? They’re still not as good as the real thing, but they’re getting pretty close these days with weighted keys and close to natural tones. It would be worth every cent of the price to have a clean set of keys and to win back your piano playing.

    As for sheet music, you don’t need to buy it. The music of Beethoven, Haydn, Rachmaninoff, Chopin et al is all out of copyright and freely available on the internet. Just google the piece you want and you should find it easily, then print yourself a copy.

    Get your music back, I’m cheering you on.

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