Do you remember the first time you saw a piano? I remember I saw a piano the first time in my life, in the Ankara Opera house when I was 12 years old. It was an extraordinary instrument with a huge keyboard, black and white. I envied the players, and the artists who are playing. In order to be in Ankara Opera house, we were supposed to take a two-hours bus drive from my small town near Ankara. Later in time, we moved to Ankara, capital city of Turkey and my mom and pa took us to the Presidential Philharmonic Concert hall. It was then a very small hall with 800 seats. Anyhow I was so excited to listen to piano concerts there on Saturday at 11:00 hours.
In 1975, I got married, we had our first child; we had no further concern other than his health, and proper education. When we had our second child, again a boy, we moved to a better environment where there were many other possibilities to give to our newborn, such as music training. We purchased a small cheap ORG, for him to play. He was very capable in playing. Then one day, we were asked if we wish to have piano teacher to teach playing piano to our 6-year old son. He was at pre-school age, in kindergarten, even not literate. Anyhow it was an experiment, teacher was in the university, for his post graduate studies, he was looking for a small boy, at pre-school age, with reasonable parents, that was us. Teacher was charging a symbolic figure for once a week piano teaching. So my son learnt music before he learnt how to read the alphabet.
Then we applied for child State choir to sing. He was elected to sing in the first Tosca Opera composed by Puccini, at the end of 1st act, 3-minutes in children’s choir. In order to participate to that performance we had 6-months of voice training. For each opera performance, we were supposed to be in the Opera house 3-hours earlier to heat up the voice, to get dressed, and some more rehearsals. After the first Act, we were staying and watching rest of the Opera.
Then the next year he was selected to sing in LaBoheme Opera, again by Puccini, in children’s choir in the second act. Once every month, sometimes twice a month, we were supposed to be in the Opera house. You are getting training, which was free-of-charge. Then his voice has changed, when he was at 12.
Our teacher, master, scholar, he advised us to go back to piano, and purchase a piano, or similar instrument so that he stays close with music. Why not a simple instrument, a flute, a guitar. One of my school friends, was a venture capitalist, a small civil contractor, I heart that he placed some money and together with a close school friend of ours, they opened up a piano shop to sell reasonable prices pianos, somewhere close to our work place.
One day, with no intention of buying, we paid a visit to his shop. We saw at least 20 pianos, Chinese or Korean fabrications, German license pianos, plus some from East European, Poland, Belarus and Russian. Good quality western pianos were very expensive, say between 10,000 to 20,000 US dollars range. We were looking for something with reasonable price, but later. He asked my son to play piano. He played his favorite from Mozart. He liked and said, “He deserves a piano, we are in general economic crisis, and I cannot sell any piano these days. I will give you a reasonable price piano, today direct to your house, and later we talk the payment terms”, I said “You are crazy, I am not ready to pay anything” He responded, “No problem, pianos are staying here like buffaloes in the swamp. In your house at least your son will be playing. He needs a piano.”
Later that afternoon, a big special lorry arrived to our house. Two special employees carried the piano into our living room. By the way, it was our new house, and we had very difficult time to pay the down payment. In our living room, we had no furniture. So piano was our first furniture. My son continued to take piano lessons from a conservatory teacher, once every weekend.
Then after two months, I got a call from my vendor friend.
“Look, I am selling this piano for 2100 US Dollars in the market. It is under OttoMaister Germany license, made in China. It is 1700 USD at reduced price. I will additionally make my sacrifice and reduce 100 USD more. So it is 1600 USD for you. You will pay me back in 1-year with intervals as you wish.”
I was surprised. Anyhow within 6-months I paid my debt all. My son had a piano. And my son got lessons. He is a good piano player now. I am proud of him. As long as you invest in education of your kids, they pay you back. That is the major investment in your lifetime.
The piano is still with us today. My 7- year old grand daugher is playing it.