Three Piano Players
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 11:11AM
Caring for Marriage

Once upon a time there were triplet brothers who all aspired to play piano. Barry, Larry and Garry had musical parents, and their grandmother was the youngest person to play at Carnegie Hall when she was four years old. This contributed to a strong tradition of musicianship and the brothers felt duty bound to learn. 

Their grandmother,  Lolita Val de Cabrera Gainsborg, left each of them a piano in her will. Barry was given a low quality spinet that obstinately refused to stay in tune for more than a month. Larry was given a white upright, with mediocre sound. Garry, was gifted with a Steinway baby grand.

Barry was determined. He refused to let the piano keep him from progressing, and he practiced for four hours on school days and six on the weekends. It was frustrating to hear lovely pieces like Jesu Joy somewhat mangled by the inadequate instrument, but Barry did not give up. He mastered every lesson his teacher put in front of him, luring the piano to create music worth hearing. Mostly.

Garry was less diligent, relying on the beauty of the piano to compensate for his lack of effort. Even simple tunes with one hand sounded lovely on the Steinway. His practice schedule was sporadic, and brief. 

Larry refused to play at all. He reasoned that when he acquired a fine piano in adulthood, he would give it serious study. It was not worth his time to bang around on an inadequate keyboard.

When the brothers turned twenty five, their mother told them that their grandmother's will had a twist to it.

"On their twenty fifth birthdays,  the pianos are to be exchanged. Barry will receive the Steinway, Garry will get the upright and Larry shall have the spinet."

The brothers were surprised. They had adjusted to their own pianos, and were confused by the change. 
Garry was not pleased. If playing on a high quality instrument had proved too taxing for him, pounding on a pathetic one was dismal. He had not worked very hard, and the added obstacle of a poor piano left him feeling unmotivated. He berated himself for not putting forth the commitment when he had a chance. 

Larry was indignant. This piano, like the one before, was beneath him, although he had never proven that with diligence. He bought more cds and left the piano to dust. His skills never materialized at all. 

But when Barry sat down at the baby grand, his fingers danced across the keys. He could hardly believe how lovely the music was, as faithful practice unleashed a flood of exquisite melody. Twenty years of scales on a third rate piano felt like a small price to pay for the beautiful sounds that flowed from the strings. All of the plodding afternoons of the past disappeared in the freedom to play beautifully for the rest of his life. 


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