New Thing #343: Play Me I'm Yours

Play_MeI had written off Boston's version of 'Play Me I'm Yours' a while ago. It seemed like it could be a great New Thing, but it was only going to be around Boston through early October.

I knew it would be hard for me to get into Boston just to play a public piano at that time of year.

(If you don't know, 'Play Me I'm Yours' is a public art installation featuring pianos left around a number of cities. This edition had them in Boston and Cambridge in September and October.)

Turns out, though, that while the Boston and Cambridge pianos still in good condition were given to charities, two remained: one at Logan Airport and the other at Quincy Market.

Turns out, I ran into that Quincy Market piano last week when I went to the Bodies exhibit at Faneuil Hall.

I'll be honest with you: one of these last few Music Mondays I was going to publish a video of myself singing a song at the piano. That would be a very New Thing.

I tried a test run one morning on a recent weekend, recording myself singing, and it had been a while since I saw myself sing. It's not great. It always sounds good when I belt something out for the girls - they seem to love it. My wife seems to have grown indifferent to it.

But - and I'm not writing myself off forever as a casual singer…it could have just been a bad morning for my voice, and I'm convinced that certain songs are entirely within my singing ability (the holidays are always a good time - I think Christmas songs fall within that category) - I don't think I'm ready to put out a video of me singing and playing the piano.

Just playing the piano, though? I'm better at that. So that's what I'm doing today.

A couple of things I need to say about the following video: I went with Billy Joel's Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel). It's my go-to when I need to play something from memory. (This is the first time I've ever needed to play something from memory for an audience, unwitting though they were.) Over the years, though, I've lost some piano-playing memory. You might notice a couple of  spots in the video where I just forget the notes. It's not as egregious on video than it felt, though, when it was happening. (I think it frustrates my brother that I rely on note-reading so much when I play the piano. But I just don't have the ear for it. I'm getting a little better, I can kind of sense the appropriate chord in certain situations, but as you can see in the video it doesn't always happen that I play the appropriate chord or note. I admire those who can hear something and then re-create it with no notes on a musical instrument.)

Also, I went with the American Idol arrangement of the song - you know, I didn't feel like you needed to sit through two of the exact same verses, so I jumped from verse one to the bridge to the ending of the song.

I think that's about all you need to know. I was with my co-teacher for the exhibit, so she graciously took the video...and helped talk me into playing. So thanks to her for that. (And for cheering at the end.)

I'm kind of proud of myself for doing it - Quincy Market wasn't crowded, but it certainly wasn't empty. I got quite a rush, too, from playing in public. I hope you enjoy.