As my digital clock ticked away, green digits flicking past as the darkness in my room became more complete and the only visible thing was the bright glare from my small phone screen, I clicked on another video. I was surfing YouTube, again. Of course. Could you expect anything more from me? After clicking through and watching billions upon billions of Benedict Cumberbatch interviews as if each one held some sort of key to the universe that I had to find before two o’clock in the morning, something had finally caught my eye:
Piano Night with James Rhodes and Benedict Cumberbatch
Of course, as someone who was just starting to play the piano and wasn’t exactly the greatest, this didn’t seem too exciting. However, it did have Benedict, according to the title, and apparently I was on a mission to spend my hours of sleep watching this man talk about various things that didn’t really mean all that much to me (besides the Sherlock stuff, I mean c’mon) I tapped it, not expecting at all what I saw and heard.
“Eighty eight keys, and within that, an entire universe.”
The next six minutes of my life, an entire universe that I seemed to have been blind to had unveiled itself, and so many new possibilities became visible to me.
James Rhodes is a pianist. Now, he’s not Bach, or Chopin, or Beethoven. Of course, he’s not. But he is a person. I think that might be one of the main reasons why I suddenly became so inspired to play music by him, because he just seems so human. So many composers, sometimes even the music-makers of our day and age, seem so far away. Distant, as if only an elite group of people can ever make it to that point. While it may be true that you need some form of talent to be a musician, society makes it seem that it’s only possible for people who have been destined for music since the beginning. Who started singing, playing an instrument, literally as they were born. On top of that, he has a family that he loves beyond anything, despite being through his fair share of trauma.
I recently read James’ book, Instrumental, (warning; I would not recommend this book for anyone who is easily affected by self-harm and the like. Although I loved the book and the story was absolutely amazing and baffling and humanising and so many wonderful things, it did touch on some very dark subjects, and it’s definitely not for everyone) and finished the whole thing in one sitting. It was truly eye-opening and left me with my jaw dropped. That someone could go through so much and come out the other end with a family and a career he claims to love, is completely insane.
On top of all that, it inspired me to pursue this whole piano fiasco on an entirely new level. Instead of spending most of my time indoors on the internet, I am actually sat at my small electric keyboard attempting to play songs. If I am not playing, I’m sitting next to it, reading because now just the comfort of knowing what I could become is so attractive and enveloping. I feel as if a veil has been dropped to the ground and where I probably would have ended up throwing up at the thought of talking to a small group of people, my brain seems to love this idea that one day I could be sat behind one of these things, eyes closed as finger numbers and notes flutter over the blank screen of my eyelids, and it’s not scary anymore. I am immersed in the music, and I love it. So far I haven’t had many places to perform, but I find myself looking forward to senior homes and recitals where I would finally get to demonstrate my love for music and the expression it holds within it.
Overall, that’s just a glimpse at how this whole thing has made me feel. I can’t even begin to describe how it feels to be so motivated for something without using innumerable cliché metaphors, and I can’t wait to continue my knowledge and understanding of music and the beautiful world it encompasses.