The Old Piano

… love is called… my old piano… his eighty eight key smile… is so pleasant to see…

Apologies, Diana Ross.

But I do love it.

Because, like most things old, or shabby, or a little well-loved, it has a story.

This upright came from the school where I teach. It was the first piano used by the first teacher in the single class pre-school in the early 1940s. Back then, the classes were still being held in a council hall. In the early 1950’s the piano was moved to the new school building, where it remained until a few weeks ago.

It was a teaching piano, and this is still so clearly evident by years of little coloured dots, (and in later years, stickers) placed on certain keys.

The top opens, the front lifts off and the keyboard hinged cover (which probably has a name!?) also comes off, opening the piano face to the world.

I would use this to show the children how, when a key is pressed, the hammer hit string.

How many countless teachers before me also taught this?

In the 11 years I have taught in my present school, this piano has been used only for play. It’s a little out of tune and has one sticky key.

And no one wanted it anymore. So it’s come to live at my house.

I have vacuumed about a kilogram of dust from the old wood, gently scraped away paint spills and glitter and blu tac. I have polished coffee cup rings and taken, very gently, to the keys.

Then, I will French polish it.

Tomorrow, a tuner/restorer is coming to tune up the piano and give me some history on what he thinks is part of the original series of Education Department issue pianos during the depression.

Stay tuned.