When I was about 6 years old, my mom started me on piano lessons. I had the meanest piano teacher in the world – Mrs. Contreras – who would sit to my right with a ruler in one hand and her other hand poised and ready to pinch me with two-inch acrylic nails if I missed a note, beat, or looked at her funny.

The crazy thing is that while I only took lessons for a year, I really did learn a lot from Mrs. Contreras. I became a pretty good sight reader, and even after the lessons stopped, continued to play piano and teach myself. Of course, I was limited in what I could learn, but I tried the best I could. Although I had pinch marks on my arm as evidence of discipline, her discipline led me to a love of music that continues today.

Fast forward 25 years. I’ve bought my first home with Dave, and in the process of furniture purchases over the last year or so, I came to the realization that I wanted to have a piano in my life again. I had grown frustrated with my limited knowledge, especially during my high school and college years, as I watched other friends who had 12 years of lessons behind them play both the classics and jazz, by sight and by ear, absolutely beautifully. I blamed my lack of skill on the fact that I didn’t have a piano at home (after I moved out for college) – whether it be a dorm room, townhome with four girlfriends, studio apartment on my own, or my first “real adult place” in Oakland – and therefore couldn’t practice and improve. As Dave and I surrounded ourselves with sofas and tables and armoires and beds and lamps and everything else a young couple buys to create a home, I realized that in order to truly call our nerw place “home”, I wanted…no, I needed, to have a piano.

So…a few weeks ago I saw an ad for a HUGE PIANO SALE in Dublin, so we went just to see what new Yamaha’s were priced at. I just wanted to sit down and feel a sold keyboard at my fingertips again. I had done a lot of research on Yamaha’s, and was particularly entranced by the 48″ U-1.

That afternoon, with the assistance of a very charming man named Gus, we ended up with a U-1 that was to be delivered to our home by the end of the week.

A few days later, I found a great young piano teacher in Berkeley who is trying to teach me the basics of music theory and chord readings, so that I can learn how to eventually play great jazz tunes from lead sheets. I’m having a ton of fun learning and re-learning all of the things I was so eager to learn back when I was six years old.

I am extraordinarily happy with our piano. Sometimes I’ll be practicing at home, and Lyman will run up the stairs and bang on his drum, while Dave does a silly song and dance in the hall. Our kitties always look perplexed. These are times that I know I’ll remember forever…just as I remember playing with my parents and brother and sister in our living room in the Philippines back in 1980.

The piano is sitting in the absolute perfect spot in our home, in our hallway at the base of the stairs. When we were first looking at the model homes, I always knew that that spot would be the perfect place for a piano, and now, two years later, I finally have my wish.

Happy playing!

my baby...the yamaha u-1

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