I learned to play piano from 4th-12th grade- if I have any talent in musical anything, it would be the piano. I am not a very good sight reader- but I heard that it is easiest to read your dominant hand. When I deferred a semester in 2014, my piano teacher decided to teach me Les Mis songs. When it comes to Les Mis, I have a huge advantage. It is much easier to learn songs you actually know. It is much easier to know if you made a mistake. Learning to play those songs really made me realize something. I don’t fully know why, but the best musical theatre songs tend to be some of the hardest to play and the hardest to sing.
Usually when I got home from GWU, I would practice Les Mis songs in order to not forget. However, I did take a long break from playing those songs. Now, I decided to reteach myself how to play. There are moments of some of those songs that I did not forget how to play. I did not learn how to play ALL the Les Mis songs: I learned “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Who Am I”, “Castle on a Cloud”, “Stars”, “In My Life”, “Do You Hear the People Sing”, “Heart Full of Love”, “On My Own”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, “Drink With Me”, “Bring Him Home”, and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”. That is literally in the exact same order they are shown in the stage show- only one mistake: “Do You Hear the People Sing” happens before “In My Life”.
Right now I am working on part of these songs- so far, worked on “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Who Am I”, “Castle on a Cloud”, “Stars”, “In My Life”, and “Do you Hear the People Sing”. A song does become difficult if there are a lot of flats and sharps, really high and low notes and when the fingering is complicated. Sometimes, I have to sing a little bit to get the song correct. It is crazy how right hand sells the melody and the left hand supports it- but there are cases where you can’t even recognize a melody if you just have right hand. I believe that due to the complicated nature of Les Mis songs, that is probably why it is hard for me to pick my favorite and why the songs are as powerful as it is.
I am wondering- how is it I can play piano without becoming an emotional wreck. When I literally am just listening to the songs, I am an emotional wreck, but not the case when playing the piano. Playing an instrument takes a lot of concretion and takes a lot of multitasking. That is due to have the ability to look at the sheet music and look at the notes at the same time.