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  • Helen English Artist

A new skill

So, after talking about burnout, I want to tell you about one of the things that helped me recover.


I do love painting and creating. That much is probably obvious if you are reading this. My main creative love is watercolour. I spend hours and days and weeks just refining that skill with new material and formats at times. At other times, I need to try out new things. In the past, that may be dancing and theatre, both of which I love. Over the past ten months it has been fabric art with hard or soft materials. But, a couple of weeks ago, I started down an unknown track that I have always wanted to explore. Playing piano.

Yes, I know, it’s slightly left field but it has been a burning ambition since childhood! I was fascinated, and still am, by how piano players use two hands to create the depth of sound that comes from their instrument. A bit of background is that I know how to read music and recorder, violin and viola as a child. My recorder skills were probably quite painful for my parents, and I don’t think I was much better at the violin when I played it, but my viola skills eventually rose to the giddy heights of grade 7 (of 8) by the time I gave up playing when I was around 15 – many eons ago. I always hankered after the piano though but we didn’t have the space, or my parents the inclination, for me to learn.


Cue online search, and the joy of finding a very reasonably priced second hand piano which didn’t have sticky keys and had been tuned last year. Following a tumultuous journey (husband in vehicle with trailer, me having kittens in the car behind), and a good thirty minutes of lifting, shoving, and words that my mum would not approve of, the piano made it into our house in one piece. A couple of weeks later and I have taught myself two piano positions (C and G) and 5 chords. Some days are better than others but I absolutely love it and have got Jingle Bells sussed so roll on Christmas.

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