Mills & Croon

Yesterday, in an attempt to broaden my horizons, augment my artistic skillset and fulfil aspirations of one day touring West Yorkshire clubs performing a Mrs Mills tribute act, I bought myself a piano keyboard.

For the uninitiated, Mrs Gladys Mills was a London born pianist whose star rose during her own middle-age (in the 1960s/70s). An era when the chirpy lady released scores of sing-along records, including party sounds and refrains formerly performed in early 20th century music halls.

It’ll not surprise you to learn I’m only joshing about bearing aspirations of forming a Mrs Mills tribute act. Despite being a pail still awash with numerous hopes and dreams, my bucket list is bereft of aspirations like adorning a blue rinse wig and sequinned dress prior to crooning refrains like ‘Boil Beef & Carrots‘ on upright piano.

Footnote – When penning of a stage performance adorning a blue rinse wig and sequinned dress, I’m referring to the delectable Mrs M’s attire…… That being said, I suppose, if so desired it could perhaps also form part of outlandish 1970’s stage garb for an Elton John tribute act.

Mrs Mills tinkling the old ivories back in the day

Even if I did hold such eccentric stage aspirations, despite having a few lessons in 2015, at this juncture I’m currently unable to play the piano. Consequently, as it stands, I’d be incapable of paying deference to any famous piano player.

Yes, a few years past yours truly did perch his butt on a piano stool for a few ‘old Joanna’ lessons; however, these episodes were fleeting. These experiences teaching me there’s a lot more to becoming a piano man than my current knowledge level – Which with candour is knowing little more where the middle ‘c’ resides upon the monochrome keys.

Consequently, I plan to seek out professional ivory tinkling tuition. Guidance to improve my finger dexterity, knowledge of music reading notation, keys, tempo, articulation; along with coming to terms with a plethora of functions the electronic keyboard avails.

To further assist in expanding my keyboard skills I’ve also invested in a couple of self-teaching tomes. Books affording tuition to beginners like me whose sparse piano playing expertise includes misguidedly attempting to extract a piano tune by stroking the keys with a violin bow.

Yes, I’m sure after a few weeks/months guidance from ‘Play Piano Like Les Dawson‘ and ‘Your Keyboard Playing Needn’t Sound Like Steam Escaping‘ I’ll at the very least possess enough knowledge for sitting the right way around when playing the bloody thing.

As alluded to above, I remember very little from those aforementioned 2015 piano lessons other than my tutor drilling into me the absolute necessity of frequent practise. This a must-do if aspiring to create an indoor soundscape where the cat doesn’t dash outside on occasions it witnesses you approach the instrument….. To be fair, I did achieve that – Although that was only because I didn’t have a moggy.

Anyhow, enough of this vignette relaying the new hobby/challenge GJ Strachan has set himself. I’ll leave you with this philosophy from South African producer/author DJ Kyos. Words proffering a link between piano keys and one’s existential journey:-

One note sounds nice on a piano, but when more than one note is pressed at the same time. It sounds more soothing and nicer . That is how life it is. You can do good on your own, but you always need the support of others to do even better.

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