Now that the Formula One season has reached its annual summer break, I am facing a question that also occurs to me at this time every year – namely, what on earth will I do with myself until 28 August (the date of the next race in Belgium)? The answer lies in something I previously wrote about on here back in October, if I remember rightly; my keyboard, which I am sad to report that I have neglected once again recently. To combat this neglect, I have bought a book for my Kindle containing a variety of piano chords, written by people who know much more about what they’re doing than me. Each chord is given a double-page spread in the book, complete with its proper name and a diagram indicating exactly where the fingers of both hands should go. It seems to be the perfect companion for someone wanting to get reacquainted with the keyboard, and it certainly appears to have everything required for them to raise their game significantly.
When it comes to this game-raising, I admit that I am contradicting myself. I have acknowledged before that it shouldn’t matter what you play or how well you do it so long as you enjoy it, and because proficiency isn’t a must if you want to make good music. Now that I’ve been away from the keyboard for a while, however – partly due to a niggling fear of my own rustiness with it – even I’m finding it hard to deny that at least some guidance would be beneficial. I’m hoping that this book can be at least an average substitute for a real piano teacher, like the man who so warmly helped me to start learning around three years ago. Every week, in between lessons with him, I would practice the song parts I’d chosen and would generally then be able to reproduce them pretty well next time I saw him. That gave me a warm glow on the inside, as did his encouragement, and more often than not I actually felt like I was getting somewhere with my instrument of choice. Whilst I enjoy playing independently, at my own pace and to my own individual skill level, maybe I feel that some written instruction could rejuvenate my focus on the keyboard as well as improve my ability. For the vast majority of the time I’ve been playing, I’ve had to wear headphones so nobody can hear my mistakes. I’m a little bit torn – I’m not ashamed of the flaws in my playing because they’ll always be there and the experimentation will always be part of the appeal, but with so many chords under my belt, how many different possibilities could there be?