Listen with Father: How I Learned to Love Classical Music

By Caroline Sanderson

A resonant memoir of a beloved father, evoked through the classical music he cherished.

Friday, 24 June 2022

#ListenWithCaroline: Piano Practice

At the beginning of 2022, I made a New Year’s resolution to play the piano every day. It’s not the first time I’ve resolved this but the pattern of sticking to it, and then not sticking to it is always the same. During the winter months, I manage to sit down and play most days just before, or after supper. As soon as it’s light in the early evenings however, I begin to neglect my playing in favour of time in the garden or greenhouse.

In this respect I’m no better than my teenage self, who could always find an excuse not to practise. And aged 15, I gave up piano lessons altogether. These days there isn’t even the pressure of a weekly lesson and a disappointed piano teacher to keep me focused. So my playing is at best sporadic at this time of year.

And then about a month ago, despite the long summery evenings, I decided I wanted to record myself playing one of my Dad’s favourite pieces – “Träumerei” by Robert Schumann – for a Father’s Day tribute. So I started practising it again in earnest.

You can watch the video I recorded last Sunday here. I make a bit of a hash of it in places, and it’s not as expressive as I’d like. It’s made me even more in awe of live soloists and the energy, emotion and…well, accuracy….they bring to their performances.

If you want to watch a real virtuoso performance of “Träumerei” (which means reverie, by the way) then as recommended in “Listen With Father”, I’d look up Vladimir Horowitz playing it at the Moscow Conservatory in 1986. My Dad enjoyed Horowitz playing pretty much anything. But I hope after all the lessons he paid for, he’d also enjoy the fact that I’m still playing the piano for him all these years later.

Thanks so much for your support of “Listen With Father”. You may like to know that it's now possible to pledge in support of my book in memory of someone you have loved and lost, with their name placed in a special In Memoriam section in the back.

Love from Caroline x

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