Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Dear Colleagues
Do you ever remember the first time you saw a piano? I remember I saw a piano first time in my life, in Ankara Opera house when I was 12 years old. It was an extraordinary instrument with 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 2- hours bus drive from my small town. Later in time, we moved to Ankara, and my mom and pa took us to State Philharmonic Concert hall. Very small hall. Anyhow I was so excited to listen to piano concerts. 

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. 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 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, us. He was charging a symbolic figure for once a week teaching. So my son learnt musical before he learnt the alphabet. 

Then we applied for child choir to sing. He was elected to sign in first Tosca, 1st act, 3-minutes in children's choir. In order to participate to that performance we had 6-months of training. In every opera performance, we were supposed to be in the Opera 2-hours earlier to heat up the voice, 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, again Puccini. In children's choir in the second act. Once every month, sometimes twice a month, we were supposed to be in the Opera hours. Money, no way. You are getting training, free-of-charge. Then he lost his voice 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. OK, why not a simple instrument, a flute, a guitar. One of my school friends, he 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, somewhere close to our house. 

One day, with no intention of buying, we paid a visit to his shop. We saw at least 20 pianos, Chinese or Korean imitations, German license pianos, plus some from East Europe and  Russia. Good quality western pianos were very expensive. say 10,000  or 20,000 US dollars range. We were looking for something with reasonable price, but later. He asked my son to play piano. He played a favorite simple Mozart. He liked and said, "He deserves a  piano, we are in general economic crisis, and I cannot sell any piano. I will give a reasonable piano, today direct to your house, and we talk later 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 it." 

In that afternoon, a big special lorry arrived to our house. Two special porters 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 week. 

Then after 2- months, I got a call from my vendor fried. "Look, I am selling this piano for 2100 US Dollars in the market. It is OttoMaister Germany license, made in China. It is 1700 USD reduced price. I will additionally make my sacrifice and reduce 100 USD more. So it is 1600 USD for you. Pay back in 1-year as you  wish." I was surprised. Anyhow within 6-months I paid them all. He 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 your kids, they pay you back. That is the major investment in your  lifetime.

Haluk Direskeneli, Ankara 13 August 2003, All rights reserved.

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