Hi there, my name is Anthony and welcome to The Piano Parlour! A moody, atmospheric studio where I furiously attempt to learn to entertain on the piano. Maybe just practice, playing scales, working out a new piece, maybe something I've learnt to completion, maybe improvising, writing melody, working out lyrics. I am a beginner, started playing in June 2017 and it so often goes wrong, gets noisy, and I forget where I'm going or where I've been! Sometimes it gets so frustrating I want to throw my piano through a window, but of course I can't, it's way too heavy, and there isn't a window. And I swear and beat myself up like the worst nightmare piano teacher anybody ever had. Well, my teacher is so lovely that someone has to!
In a distant, past life, I used to be a dj, from back when I left school and double decks weren't exactly 1210's, and people sat on the floor to oops upside your head. Then a reggae sound system with mc's and echo chambers, 7" vinyl with the dub plate always on the b side, sound clashes, and blues parties in houses where people paid to get in and bought overpriced red stripe lager from a slightly dodgy bar. Then came '89 and what was known on the underground dance scene in the UK as the summer of love. Raving, warehouse parties around the M25, tension filled London raves where they probably weren't supposed to be, hard to argue with the amount of people on the scene, even if you were the law. I ran a couple of successful pirate FM radio stations and was an early promoter and regular dj at a local club that was simply the best in the country at the time. The legend of Sterns and the In-ter-dance crew lives on in this town and across the country to a certain age group to this day. I ran a club night on the Algarve in Portugal one summer, then I got involved in the free festival rave scene and built a monster rig, bought a big 4wd truck and invaded the peace and quiet of the countryside from time to time. Then I realised I'm too old to be a dj and closed that door. Some memorable happy days, now long gone, 15 years long, and time for a new direction, said a voice inside my head while I was at a school concert a couple of years ago.
I play mainly blues although I do also learn lots of different pieces as I make my way up the often extremely steep learning curve. Do I play requests? If I know it then I'm happy to play it, but the chances are at this stage I won't know it. Do I sing? Sometimes, not too often, quite badly if I'm honest. But it's great practice as I need to let go of what I'm doing on the piano to be able to sing, which helps build hand independance. I practice daily and play through scales 6.30am every working day on my digital before I leave. I get home from work and go straight to the studio for a couple of hours and play my real piano. Then in the evening I get in some sight reading practice on the digital. The piano really has become my reason to be. Am I mad? Probably.
I will also be streaming in the workshop from time to time as I restore an old Schwander action on my 1915 John Broadwood upright. Later in the year there are plans to get an early 1900 grand piano, maybe another Broadwood or maybe one of the fantastic German pianos from that period. It would be honest to say I may be new to this instrument but I have such a passion for lovely old pianos. Yes, they can be a pain needing regular tinkering, much more so than a modern piano. But they sound fantastic, are full of history and when reconditioned play so well. Here in England you can get such a high quality piano for not a lot of money, often for free, it's shocking. I just love those old pianos!
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