Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Magical Moment 369, "The Other Side of the Wall"

Not long after we moved to our current NJ apartment, I purchased my very own piano. Never having lived in an apartment building with a piano before, I was slightly worried what my neighbors would think, as the sound would surely carry to the apartment below and beside us. I put my shiny May Berlin in the spare bedroom where I would have my own music space to work in. Eddie and I insulated the wooden floor as best we could with foam and an area rug, and muffled the back of the piano to catch some of the sound.

I'll never forget sitting down at he keys. It was the moment I had been waiting for. I had my very own room, with a door, with privacy, to play and do whatever I wanted without inhibition. I chose to play the song "Turkish March" by Mozart, a song I learned in 8th grade and became so ingrained into my muscle memory that I can still play it to this day without ever glancing at the keyboard.

I hit that last, glorious A major chord and let the sound echo throughout my tiny room. Suddenly, my heart jumped with surprise, when I heard monstrous applause. It took a moment to register what was happening. Finally, I realized it was my neighbor directly on the other side of the wall, who I had not yet met. I could hear her clapping as clear as if she was sitting next to me. That's when I knew, no amount of insulation would help.

Later after introductions took place, my neighbor assured me that she not only didn't mind the piano, but she looked forward to it. When she hears me begin to practice, she goes to that room and listens. She turns her TV down. She sings along if she knows the music. She wants her children to begin piano lessons now. And when I see her outside she asks, "What are you going to play today?"

Despite the mistakes she no doubt hears me make over and over, and despite the fact that she's never been to a single performance of mine, she is one of my most faithful and enthusiastic fans. Her out of sight, solo applause has meant more to me over the months, than crowd full of clapping.

10 comments:

Teri said...

How wonderful! And she doesn't need to go to a concert... she has them regularly in her own home! ;-)

Hilary said...

That's a wonderful neighbour for a musician to have. My son plays his guitar LOUDLY down in the basement. He also has an electric piano and a series of programs which turns his piano keyboard in to a full rich symphony sound when wired through his computer. It's truly amazing. Anyway, I always worry about my neighbour on that side of the house as our walls connect us. I've seen her on several occasions and she assures me that she just loves to hear his music no matter the hour and that it's never kept her from sleeping or relaxing. Whew! Now that her boyfriend has moved in, he plays his blast-'em-up computer games very loudly. It's not like I can complain. :)

Dawn said...

What a wonderful neighbor!!!!!
Wish my neighbors were as musically gifted as you;))

Anonymous said...

How sweet. Love this one.

Steve Gravano said...

Beautiful, I wish I lived next door. Free piano concerts sound great!

Elizabeth Grimes said...

Teri, some "concerts" are better than others, but I'm glad she doesn't mind! :)

Hilary, sounds like you're pretty lucky as well. I know just what you mean about a symphony through his keyboard. Your son sounds very talented and passionate about his work.

Dawn, you're too kind! Thanks. :)

Anonymous, thank you so much. Glad you enjoyed this post.

Steve, aw thanks! Take care!

Travel Nurse Extraordinaire said...

I would love to be your neighbor! Jealous!!!

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Anvilcloud said...

That's neat. I live in a townhouse and play the fiddle (poorly - started very old) and wonder what the neighbours might think. In better weather, I play in the basement, but I do it upstairs these days when it's cold down there. Thanks for the visit.

The Ac is On

MaggieGem said...

How great to have such a fan as a neighbor, maybe it's just me but I'm running into way too many cranky people lately. I'm glad to hear there are some nice and appreciative people still left on the planet ;-)

Anonymous said...

My little grandson (age 2) was so cute the other day as he was "playing" the piano. He kept looking over his shoulder at me to make sure I was going to clap for his performance. We have a hambone on our hands! xo