Anyway, I had saved up $1000 and wanted to make a change. I never thought of myself as a stuccoer. But I didn't have much sense that a profession in music, my passion, was even possible. I saw three possibilities: first, I noticed that someone had a second-hand Jaguar for sale for $1000. Then I saw that someone else had a second-hand upright piano for sale for a bit less. And then there was university. It is kind of interesting to me to recall what I was thinking back then. I had over the last several months developed a real passion for classical music and spent most of my free time listening to it. I would start every morning with some violin music by Wieniawski:
In a version for violin and orchestra. I think there was some Vieuxtemps on the album as well:
So, my mind and my body were obviously in different places! I decided against the Jaguar. Cool car, but not really a change in where I was. So that left the piano or university. It is interesting that I was thinking about the piano. I was very attracted by composition and the piano seemed to be the instrument to take up. But I ultimately decided on university and it really changed my life. I was an A- student all the way through whether I was taking music courses, or German or Philosophy or Linguistics or English. I loved it. It was the kind of intellectual environment that high school was not. But I turned away from composition. Perhaps because it was the 70s and the kind of composition that the students were doing just didn't interest me. And I was very committed to the guitar. So that takes care of the next thirty years of my life!!
What is funny is that, since I have been taking composition much more seriously in the last several years, my thoughts are turning back to the piano. Don't laugh, but I am currently teaching myself basic piano technique. That should provide material for a few posts!
I can tell you one thing up front. The piano is a much easier instrument than the guitar. By that I mean that to play a relatively simple piece by Purcell on guitar, takes a lot of study. But I run into the same piece in the first week on piano. To do the same thing is far easier on the piano because so much of the note production is mechanized.
Of course, this very ease of production means that a real piano virtuoso can do astonishingly complex things so at the end of the day, it is the music that is easy or difficult, not the instrument.