I just finished reading "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank" by Thad Carhart. Thad is an expatriate writer that lives in Paris with his wife and 2 children. As he walks his children to school every day, he passes by a small piano shop - Desforges Pianos. Over time, he forms a relationship with the shop owner, Luc. This relationship with Luc revitalizes Carhart's passion for the piano. This memoir is a bit of a love story for the piano. We learn about the history of the piano and how the piano has changed since it's invention. I think it is a gem of a book for anyone who is interested in pianos and classical music. If you have no interest in pianos, though, you will probably find this to be a bit dull!
I loved how Luc thought of each piano almost as a person. When Luc sold a piano, the client usually wouldn't pick the piano out; instead, Luc would "introduce" the client to a piano that he thought would be a good fit. As Luc says, "It's not just another instrument like a flute or a violin that you put away in the closet. You live with it and it with you. It's big and impossible to ignore, like a member of the family. It's got to be the right one! (p. 29-30)"
I took piano lessons for over 10 years and taught lessons during my junior and senior year of high school. Reading about Carhart's reflections of his recital days resonated with me. When he said, "... recitals were a strange amalgam: half exam, half carnival, with a dreadful thrill of anticipation until the awful night slowly arrived and quickly passed (p. 63)," I said out loud - YES! Oh the dreaded recital. I do not miss those days!
This book definitely awakened my desire to own a piano. Unfortunately, that is not practical in my 680 square foot condo. It's a shame because playing the piano is so therapeutic for me! When I do buy a house down the road, though, a piano will be one of the first major purchases I will make!
Did you take piano lessons as a child? If not, do you wish you had?