Making things easier for the first time in forever.
February 1, 2016
It has been a semester and a tiny bit more at SMU and I have finally given approval to the 7/8 (5.5) keyboard.
It's a piano with smaller keys. No, not a toy piano, but a slightly modified keyboard where the width of the key is sliced into a more bite-sized piece for smaller fingers and smaller hands. The piano is sitll the same size. It's just the keyboard that has changed.
I was skeptical at first. It didn't seem real. Humans naturally think of smaller things as a mere version of the whole. Our jargon for smaller things: mini-me, bite-size, fun-size carry a connotation of inferiority. It's not the 'real' thing because it is smaller. And that is what it felt like at first, playing on a piano where my fingers don't have to strain for an octave, feeling like a giant with control over the keyboard. Instead of feeling a sense of relief that I could finally play all the Russian romantic literature I wanted, I felt ashamed. It was cheating the system with a smaller piano.
It took a few months to get over it. Everything is just perspective: from ergonomic keyboards to my attitude. A quality Beethoven Concerto is a better Beethoven Concerto no matter what size of keyboard it is played on.
Then there is the fear that I am misdirecting myself. In the 'real' world there are no such things as modified keyboards. By getting comfortable with this keyboard, I might be pampering myself. I will delude myself into thinking that I can play all the Schumann I want and then graduate and realize I better stick to Mozart and Bach.
It is this anxiety that still sticks within me, but I am reassured by one thing. Today, I played on a regular sized keyboard the literature I usually practice on a 5.5.
It didn't sound bad at all. Either my hands are slowly getting bigger, or playing on a smaller, more comfortable piano has allowed me to focus on my tone rather than stretching for octaves.