Matthew Miner

Tinkling Them Ivories

Last summer I took up piano. When I was 10 I went to piano lessons for a year and hated them. I can’t pinpoint why. Probably some combo of the dusty old church songs we had to learn and being forced to practice when The Simpsons was on.

I love music though and regret never learning an instrument. I own a guitar and occasionally futz around with GarageBand, but the result is more noise than music. As luck would have it a friend was moving to Australia for six months and needed a temporary home for his keyboard; the timing was right.

I signed up for weekly lessons at Long & McQuade. The book we use is Alfred’s Basic Adult All-in-One Course. It has its fair share of those church songs that tormented me as a kid, but I like its mix of theory, songs, and hot tips for becoming Elton John.

Alfred's Basic Adult All-in-One Course

Before Christmas I participated in a recital. Most of my fellow pianists were preteens clearly forced to be there by their parents. I had a ball though playing on the auditorium’s big old grand piano. Here’s my rendition of Standing in the Need of Prayer. I also played a sea shanty called Blow the Man Down — a real banger, 10x cooler than SitNoP — but my performance went off the rails halfway through so it’s just the church jam today.