It is what a small orchestra called. It is the sound of the small orchestra.”
– James Baldwin, Baldwin’s Autobiography
If you were to ask me what a small piano sounds like, I wouldn’t know. It will probably be a large one, like a Steinway, but I wouldn’t know what else. My mother would probably tell me if I wanted a few pieces, but then she would bring me one piano and it would sound like a thousand. My dad would be just as puzzled.
If someone was playing the small piano in your basement, did you want to make it sound like a million or a thousand? I bet you would, so here’s the best advice I ever received: never, ever play anything loud. There will come a point in your life when your fingers and palms will have become so numb that you will be ready to move the strings at any moment. I’d be tempted to play something loud, but it’s like putting a fire extinguisher in a room full of children: you could very well set everyone aflame. That little piano will always sound like a million or a thousand.
The small piano was a gift from my grandmother on her birthday. She liked it so much that I decided to keep it and she loved it too. When I first began playing it, no one knew what I was doing. I didn’t have any training, no professional orchestra, nothing. Just a piano and some wood blocks. After awhile, I put on all of my professional training and began to think I was good enough. I got a job at a store, and I started to learn how to play small, fast, beautiful pieces. My friend, Steve, came over one night and told me to start putting some people in front of the piano and see what happens. I put everyone in front of the piano at once, and they started to play. I was amazed, and for some reason I started to play the same piece over and over again.
Some one who lives close to us, a guy named Jerry, saw this and was very confused. He told me to look around and not just listen to what they were saying through a megaphone. Instead, he was going to give me some time and find a way to get the little people to talk to him about what was on their minds and then try to make them dance around the piano a little as they were speaking to me. I wasn’t sure if he was nuts, or if I had
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