The Gift of Music

This year I was fortunate to receive many gifts both for Christmas and for my birthday, not the least of which was a collection of gift cards, cheques and cash. I had a few gift cards for BestBuy, which seemed like a logical place to start the search for a gift.

Meaghan and I had talked for the last couple of years about someday getting me a piano. I have played since I was very young but have not had access to a real piano since leaving England in 1999. I have had a couple of portable electronic keyboards over the years, but they just don’t have the same feel as a piano. The keys are plastic and even the touch-sensitive models just don’t have the right feeling to them. It’s hard to introduce a concept of pianoforte into the music. However, the reason I had stuck with the portable keyboards for so long is that pianos are expensive; really expensive.

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A couple of weeks ago Meaghan and I had gathered some ideas, one of which was the Yahama Arius, a very capable digital piano that had caught my interest. The price tag was over a thousand dollars however, putting it firmly out of reach. On this occasion, we found something very similar and much more within reach. The Yamaha P-85 digital piano has the full 88 keys (about 7 octaves) found on a real piano and a simulated hammer action that feels like playing the real thing. Tonal control and touch sensitivity are extremely authentic and if you close your eyes you really can’t tell the different. Digital pianos also do not go out of tune, which means no expensive tunings every six months.


I’ve spent the last few days practicing with every spare moment available. On Saturday we went to a local music store so that I could pick out some sheet music. I decided to start with some favorites from my youth with Mozart’s Sonata in C Major (K545), Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, J.S.Bach’s Menuet in G, and J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (BWV 565). I still had my copy of Haydn’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba from our visit to England two years ago, which gives me a fantastic set of works to begin learning.

My new piano is currently occupying our dining room table as the stand and pedal set do not come as part of the package. We plan to buy the stand as soon as we are able; hopefully in February. For now I am thoroughly enjoying the exploration and expression of playing once again.

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