Sunday, February 11, 2007

In the key of me

Hey, does anyone know what to do when the music says to play it "brightly"? I'm back at the piano this week. I haven't played much since I went back to work, and it's coming back, as well as the mysteries of these dynamics suggestions. Whenever it asks me to play brightly, I just find myself playing with extremely wide eyes. Anyway, my first lesson back is next Monday at 2:15. Our cat, Maddy, came running as soon as I started back into my extremely rigid interpretation of "The Can-Can." I wonder if she can tell the difference between that and my Hanon exercises. They are haunting, after all.

A big reason I'm getting back into it is for the stress relief. I am hopeful that it will help.

Today I officially gave up on Daughter from Danang. Well, specifically, I gave up on me and Daughter from Danang. It's a documentary about an Amerasian woman who was born in Vietnam. Her mom had to give her up as the war was ending, because, in her own words, she had heard that half-American babies were going to be gathered up and burned. Well, the daughter, raised in an unloving Tennessee family as Heidi, goes back to find the woman and family she hadn't seen since she was maybe 5. It's a really heartbreaking story because she goes back there, fully Americanized, and gets really overwhelmed by her birth family. Her mother has suffered and given her up for what she believed was her own good, and now wants help from her. She says she wants to come back to America with Heidi, which is really not what she bargained for in trying to find her.

I'd caught the last half of the documentary on PBS a few years ago and always wanted to see it again. In the part that I had seen, I didn't see the suffering the mom had done, always wondering where her daughter was, if she was alive, and trying to find her for years. I had only seen, "take me with you." It was really disturbing. Seeing the first half showed that all the people were making mistakes, misunderstanding, living in misery. It was very hard to watch.

It's amazing to me how personal language is. I mean, more than 80 million people speak Vietnamese, 79.9 repetant million people better than me. But when I heard it in the documentary, I closed my eyes and suddenly felt intimate with the speakers. I didn't need to read the subtitles (they were a little off when I did read them). When I was young, language was how I delineated my public and private spheres. So when I hear it now, I'm immediately taken back to my home. And I didn't feel ready to be there right at that moment. I fell asleep halfway through the movie, then packed it up and sent it back to Netflix. Bring on the Cane Toads or something.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Playing "brightly" means to play in a well-lit room.
Or in a happy, light manner; generally a little quicker.

One of those two at least.

Instructions like that always confused me when I was learning, too. Basically you have to invest some emotion in to your playing. Easier said than done for those of us left-brained people. It takes some time to do because you have to be comfortable just playing the notes first, but then you can play around with HOW you play the notes. It'll come.

-- BC