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Piano for Dummies…or for Michaels

Written By: Humor Mike - Jan• 06•19

This time next year, I will know how to play “Ode to Joy.”

When I was just a little boy, you know, back in 1858, I had big dreams of what I would become when I grew up. I don’t remember ever wanting to be a teacher, or a doctor, or a bus driver. Instead, I wanted to be famous. I didn’t know how I would become famous, exactly, but I knew it would involve me being either a rapper, an actor, a singer, a dancer or a stripper. Perhaps I’d be a dancer who stripped, or a stripper who danced. Either way would work as long as my name was in lights.

At some point, my mother thought tap dance lessons would be a good idea. Apparently, she forgot to factor in that we were from the hood. As if I didn’t have enough things working against me, if I had ever walked out that front door wearing tap shoes, I wouldn’t have made it down the block. The only safe place for me to tap dance in Baltimore was in the closet, and there just wasn’t enough space for that. The closet was also my bedroom and recreation area.

Furthermore, coordination has never really been my strongest suit. Whereas some people seem to dance with ease, it has always taken a lot of focus and brain power for me to get these legs and hands to do exactly what I want them to, when I want them to. It appears that my arms hear jazz while my hands hear country and my legs hear hip hop. It also doesn’t help that I thought I had arthritis at the age of five because my grandma kept saying she had it and I wanted to fit in.

After trying out for the dance team at school and being shown the door, I tried my hand at singing. For some reason, I thought that my singing in soft, low tones was beautiful. I called myself mastering a Mariah Carey song before trying out for the choir. I was halfway through the first verse when the teacher escorted me out of the room and told me not to come back until I had a better voice, which is pretty harsh when you’re 7.

Even as a child, some would say that I had a flair for the dramatic, so, naturally, I enrolled in drama class. At that point, I was getting smart. I knew better than to try out for optional, after-school activities. Instead, because it was an actual class, I figured the teacher would be stuck with me. That’s right, I had the drama teacher by the gills. No matter what I brought to the table, he would have to invest time in me and make me an Oscar-winning actor.

Or so I thought.

My drama teacher absolutely hated me. And not just some typical teacher-student general hate. Oh no. My teacher’s hate for me was on that same level of hate that you get for simply writing “good morning” on Twitter. As I’ve learned the hard way, nobody wants or has time for your funky little positivity on there. As a matter of fact, maybe my drama teacher started Twitter. Hmmm. I’ll look into it.

Although my teacher couldn’t exactly fire me as a student, he did have incredible power. Instead of me ever having anything close to a leading role, I was always cast in single-word, offstage parts. My teacher pulled me to the side and explained, “Michael, there are no small parts, only small actors. And you, Michael, are very small.” He then went on to tell me that I was not going to ruin whatever Shakespeare play we were working on under any circumstances. Not on his watch!

Of course, my next stop on the road to fame was to take up piano. When I think about it, I was truly an innovator with my thought process because I chose piano before people like John Legend, Lady Gaga, and Alicia Keys made it cool. Ok, so maybe I didn’t decide this before Elton John was a thing, but he’s at least 362, so not many people can say that they did anything before he did. After all, he invented the piano.

I have mastered this one note!

As it turns out, the piano wasn’t exactly my groove. I thought you could sit there and go from playing “Mary Had A Little Lamb” to playing Beethoven or Mozart in one or two sessions. Unfortunately, I was wrong. On day one my instructor started talking about reading music and knowing octaves, so my brain shut off. Because I almost died of boredom during that session, I voted piano lessons off the island at the next tribal council. My mom was actually happy about this because it allowed her to save $3 a week, which was equivalent to one month’s rent.

Now that I’m an adult and somewhat more mature, my desire to learn to sing and play piano has returned. Well, if I’m being honest, I’m trying to find relaxing activities to get into to offset the stress of Big Macs being 2 for $5 when I specifically asked McDonald’s to reduce them down to $1 a piece at most. See, that’s the problem with the world today. Nobody listens.

Surprisingly, even though it’s 2019, if you want to learn piano, there still hasn’t been any major advancements in that area. There isn’t a pill or a quick course you can take that will have you playing like a professional within a few minutes. I just wish I had known that before I put the ad out on Craigslist to be the musical guest at several weddings. And maybe I shouldn’t have tried to join the orchestra until I knew how to do more than find middle C, which is still the only note I know.

Fortunately, this time around, I didn’t have to sign up for classes, which I think would have killed me. As a matter of fact, while we’re on the subject, perhaps forced piano lessons should be used as capital punishment for citizens who choose to break the law by going 36 in a 35 mile-per-hour zone. Clearly, I’m no criminal justice major, so perhaps forced piano lessons may be a bit excessive as a punishment, but it should at least be considered.

This time around, because I know that in-person lessons or working my way through a piano book on my own would make me feel like I was on death row, I have become like a toddler who purchases millions of apps on his mom’s iPad to keep me entertained. So far, I think it’s working. After several weeks of practice, I can find middle C a lot quicker. Although I can’t do it when I’m blindfolded and acting out scenes from Bird Box, I have high hopes that I will master that at any moment now.

On the flip side, although I embarked on this piano journey to help relieve stress, I have to say that the stress seems to return every month when I see the cost of the app subscriptions. As Homer Simpson would say, my bank statement gives me many reasons to slap my hand against my head and go, “D’oh!” Apparently, learning a new instrument isn’t cheap even if you have a Groupon. Maybe I’ll have to go back to stripping.

If you want me to play “We Are The Champions” at your wedding, I may be able to do that!

Michael Rochelle
Humor blog: http://www.humormike.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram: humor_mike_
Twitter: @mikeyllo

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