I just finished up a weekend playing the piano at Santa’s Workshop in St. George, and will be playing at the Dicken’s Festival coming up Wednesday, December 3rd through Saturday the 6th. Between these two events I will have spent more than 70 (70!!) hours at the Dixie Center, with the majority of those hours spent actually playing the piano.
At the end of each day, my fingers feel like carrots, my arms feel floppy like spaghetti with marinara, and my back feels like I’ve been giving Hulk Hogan a piggy back ride to Philadelphia. I start to have thoughts of taking a hatchet to the piano. I have to fight myself to drive home instead of driving to the funny farm. The piano and I are not friends. We’re not even speaking to each other.
When I wake up the next morning I get a sinking feeling in my stomach when the realization hits me that I get to take a shower then drive back to the Dixie Center. There I see my arch nemesis, the piano. Then we spend the rest of the day together, still mad at each other.
I’ve played these two events for around five years. After every year, I don’t touch the piano again for a month or two. Finally we reconcile our differences, kiss and make up, and start hanging out again.
I suppose the obvious question is “Why in the world do you do this if it’s that bad?” Good question. I’ll let you know when I figure that out.
Just kidding. As difficult as it can be to play the piano for 12 hours a day, I also find it very rewarding. I’m humbled every single time somebody comes up and thinks the music is good enough to open their wallet and shell out some cash for a CD. I LOVE talking with people and hearing their stories about how they’re learning to play the piano, and giving an encouraging word when they say they’re having a hard time making their left hand work with their right.
It made me feel good to give a CD to a lady who told me that two weeks ago she found out she has incurable leukemia. It made me happy to talk to a nurse who works on the LifeFlight helicopter who put my music on her iPod to listen to when things get stressful during a flight. It’s rewarding to see a five year old walking with their parent into the Christmas festival but stop right in front of the piano mesmerized by the music.
If my payment for those experiences is a sore back, hop on Hulk Hogan!