My Embarrassing Piano Journal

I used to loathe reading my journals from when I was younger. Our adolescent selves are something to behold most of the time and occasionally, I actually run into something I still believe and then I panic. “Have I not evolved? Have I grown so little?”

So while the great philosophers of the world have these beautiful, life-long journals, regular people have chronicles of what they ate for lunch and which friend they’re not talking to. Or, in my case, how “everyone probably is a little gay so it’s not a big deal.”

Additionally, though, we pianists are blessed with sheet music journals. These stay hidden in piano benches and old (but not dusty because it’s my mother) bookshelves until your parents’ basement floods and they deliver them to you in a plastic crate to “keep what you want.”  Well, do you know what I didn’t want? A walk down this particular memory lane. But if I have to walk it, then why don’t you all walk along with me.


I am trying to decide if it’s better or worse that my parents bought this sheet music or that I distinctly remember enjoying playing the theme from Dallas. Surprisingly, no one ever had me play the theme from Entertainment Tonight at their wedding.


When I was a freshman in high school, there were a bunch of juniors who loved this song so much so I was THRILLED when I realized my father owned the sheet music so I could learn the introduction on the piano and impress everyone. I thought it was very pretty. Which is exactly what Led Zeppelin was hoping for with their music. “Pretty” and “Great for freshman girls to play on the piano.”


I visited my grandparents for about a week every summer. My grandfather would wait on me in the morning, carrying over my Lucky Charms like he was a butler, and they had this little mini skateboard that I would ride on the sidewalk for hours. They also had a small music store and no real musical knowledge so when I asked them to spend $2.00 on a Guns ‘N Roses song, they didn’t balk. Then I took it back to their house and played it incessantly on their keyboard on the E. Piano setting which, if you don’t know, is the exact opposite sound of Slash’s guitar.


I bought this at the same music store in my grandparents’ hometown. It’s like I saw it as contraband music material that I couldn’t buy with my parents around. This one was the first song I remember being in the key of A and I hated that so I changed it to A-flat. Really changed the tone. (Also they were touring with Bryan Adams which was my first concert. The early 90s were weird, man.)


Everybody needs a backup copy of “Somewhere Out There” by golly.


Oh god…


I mean, really?…


God, Kelly, why? What the crap was your obsession with Boyz II Men? I mean, yes. I remember when you wore suspenders to school because Boyz II Men had worn suspenders on some music awards show the weekend before. And I remember when you freaking SANG A SONG in front of other people because Boyz II Men sang that song so beautifully. And yes, you owned all of these songs on tape and CD and thought that love was literally just a physical representation of four-part harmony. But why did you NOT own the sheet music for Motownphilly? Missed opportunity.

Fun fact: If I had gotten married in 1994, my vows would have been the lyrics to “On Bended Knee” and I would have walked down the aisle to “Water Runs Dry” even though it’s entirely inappropriate for that setting. This and this alone is why 14-year-olds can’t get married.


Total weddings played for in 1993: 7. Total weddings that included this song: 7.


Vanessa Williams was the voice of NE Iowa Weddings At Which I Performed for awhile. I also remember asking a boy to dance with me to this one. This is horrible.


The only thing I knew less about than Catholic wedding services was country music. The summer that a prominent wedding pianist had some sort of hand surgery and she gave everyone my name was a crash course in both of these things. This is how “Holy Holy Holy” ended up sounding like a jig and why in the freaking world I still own this sheet music.


My identification with black pop culture in the early 90s apparently was quite strong. I couldn’t wait to see “Poetic Justice” and I bought this sheet music because I loved the music video. Ten years later, Nipplegate happened and it would have been so much better if it had occurred during a performance of this song. But alas. Carrie will love when I do a rendition of this for her after two glasses of wine.


I will fight to the death that Enya is amazingly relaxing to listen to. Which will totally defeat the purpose of Enya’s soothing vocals and arrangements. But when I played out of this book, I would always hear gentle “oooo”ing and a whole chorus of people whose sole existence was to lower everyone’s heart rate to approximately 30. Also I performed it at a talent show with all the lights off. Cuz I’m a true artist, assholes.


Oh god – I bought this entire album’s sheet music? And my goodness look at those jeans. But really? The whole album? Was “River Deep, Mountain High” on piano just super outstanding in the acoustics of my parents’ living room? Ha ha, I jest. Obviously, I played along with the recording of “All By Myself” at ear-bleeding decibels and you can bet your patoot that I’ll be doing that again as soon as I’m done with this blog.


I believe that love is the answer. I also believe that I can still play this introduction in full without looking at this sheet music. It was a cool song at the time. Please believe me.


I worked in a movie theater and this movie played there from December 19, 1997, until May 14, 1998. Two to three showings in a day x that many days + the complete radio overkill and I heard this song more than anyone could possibly imagine. So obviously, I had to learn to play it. Because that made me cool. I loved being cool.

That’s how I feel right now, by the way. Super cool. Just like my seventh grade piano recital where I played this:


If you’ve never seen a 13-year-old lesbian with a mullet pretend to headbang while playing Bohemian Rhapsody during a piano recital, then obviously, we met later in life and you missed out. I’ll just let you imagine it, k?  K.

Sheet music journals are killer.

1 thought on “My Embarrassing Piano Journal”

Leave a Reply