Piano lessons

Namine has started taking piano lessons again!

When we moved out of our apartment and into our new house, we had to give up our old piano. With everything else we were moving, we simply couldn’t take it with us. As a result, we have been piano-less this first year (plus a few months) in the house. That is no longer true!

We recently picked up an electronic keyboard. A new piano would have been ideal, but they are expensive. This keyboard purports to have “ivory-like weighted keys” which is supposed to mimic the feel of a piano. Not being a pianist myself, I cannot verify the accuracy of that claim. Namine has had no complaints, at least none voiced to us. She has, however, enjoyed having a piano on which to play again.

We rearranged the dining area to make room for the new piano. (Yes, from here on out I’m just calling it a piano. Feel free to tell me how wrong I am.) Our dining table is quite long, when all its leaves are in. This makes for plenty of room when we have guests over, but the downside is that it takes up pretty much the whole room. So we took the leaves out, which opened up the room quite a bit.

When we first pursued getting Namine lessons here, we had thought she would take them at someone’s house or studio. The teacher we found teaches out of her home, much as my mom does, but her piano is in her basement. That won’t work for us, of course. She does, however, offer the option of virtual lessons: she sends out a Google Meet link and we join the meeting on whatever device we want. We set up an extra table next to the piano and joined on a laptop, and that worked perfectly, giving the teacher a wide enough view of Namine’s hands on the keys. Namine had a wonderful time in her first lesson and can’t wait for next week!

Tangentially related — because it involves us getting the piano but so much not to Namine playing it — I wanted to share the story of how we got the piano. A saying I’m fond of (and have said as much many times now on the blog) is “man plans, and God laughs.” This was another in a long line of stories how the way things went was not at all how we thought it would.

We found the piano at Costco, and for a fraction of the cost of a real piano. So we set up lessons for Namine, committing ourselves to her first lesson the following week. Since they were virtual lessons, we obviously needed to buy the piano. We did so just prior to the weekend, with Namine’s first lesson being on Tuesday.

I started putting the piano together about early afternoon on Saturday. The heavy assembling involved the stand, not the keyboard. The latter simply got attached and screwed into the former, of course requiring it to be built. (It did not occur to me at the time to first plug in the keyboard and assure its operation.)

Only after I finished assembling the stand and attaching the keyboard to it, I plugged in the keyboard. The power came on when I pressed the power button, but it had no volume when keys were pressed. (Neither did any lights light up on the volume indicator.) After plugging the keyboard into different outlets, plugging in speakers and headphones, and otherwise eliminating alternative explanations as to its lack of sound, I had to conclude that this was a bust.

I contacted Costco, but the closest one to our house, not the one at which the piano was purchased. They confirmed that I could indeed return it there, provided I return all the pieces — but they assured me that I was not required to fit everything back in its box as it came. A good thing, that, because though great my Tetris skills are, I was not able to put everything back perfectly. No matter. Jessica and I successfully returned it and acquired a new piano, only shortly before Costco closed. (We likely would not have had the chance to do this on another day before Namine’s first lesson.)

When we arrived back home, the first thing I did was unbox and plug in the keyboard. (I had learned my lesson.) I confirmed that the power and volume buttons all worked. Having done so, I assembled this one’s stand — now having become an expert at assembling this particular model — and let both Namine and Jessica try it out.

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