I was at a music concert yesterday, given by my sister-in-law's students at the music school run by her. The lessons are in Western Classical music. As I listened to the children playing many of the standard recital pieces like Fuer Elise (Beethoven), Minuet in G by various composers and heard a senior student sing the beautiful hymn 'Panis Angelicus', the music in my life, when I was young came back to me.
I did my first piano exam when I was 9--at that time grade 1 piano of the Royal College of Music. I don't remember how well I did or not, only that I passed. That was in boarding school in Ooty.
My parents then moved to Kolkata (Calcutta then), when one of the first things my mother did, was to hunt for a music teacher. She found an old Scottish lady, of whom I have written earlier. She was good, but didn't believe in sending children for the exams, though she made me play pieces as much as I could, regardless of the difficulty level.
We had a piano, which was at first kept in the living room. But since I was always playing, the piano was moved to my bedroom. I cannot tell you what joy that was! I could play whenever I felt like it. It was to the piano I went, when I was down, or even when I just wanted to think. I loved practising even scales. Those four years were wonderful and the piano---and my diary--were among my best friends during teenage angst time. Now my fingers are not supple anymore and I can no longer play as nimbly as I could once and I no longer have a piano. Yes there is a guitar at home, but that, to me, is not the same.
The singing brought back to me, the choir singing I did at my school in Cal. I remember learning 'Panis Angelicus' there and I remembered it all my life. Ever since, I heard my young sister-in-law sing, I had been wanting her to learn this song. And so I heard a number of very good young singers singing the song. I am truly glad that my young sister-in-law has this music school, because, once more, I get to hear so much music.
My old piano looked a bit like this--