I’ve tickled the ivories for as long as I’ve been alive. As a small kid, I had shunned lessons. I already was in regimented dance classes and the highly disciplined Colorado Children’s Chorale; the idea of adding yet another by-the-books art into my schedule was of no interest to me.
Still, I always dabbled, picking out by ear songs I’d heard on the radio (and in the process probably driving my poor parents crazy from all of the experimenting).
When I was 12, I was sitting at my mother’s 1897 upright (which she had bought when she was 12 with her baby sitting money), and my wonderful father sat down and taught me the cycle of fifths. He said that all Western music was built on the relationships between these chords and the 12 tones in the chromatic scale. I was suspicious.
All these years later, I know he’s right–not just because I now know a little bit about music theory, but because the more I play piano, the more my hands just do what they’re supposed to do. The relationship between the notes and the chords work with mathematical accuracy. When you know what you’re doing (and I say that with a healthy awareness of my own limitations as a player), your fingers move to the correct configurations without thinking because your brain understands those tonal relationships.
At least it does for me when I play regularly. For years, I played a lot of piano–I supported myself by playing what felt like excruciatingly long piano bar gigs in my late teens and early 20s. When I started making my living acting, I sort of left piano behind. I was a singer, sure–singing is easier for me than breathing. But piano? That took work. Every once in a while, I’d play for my dad, and he would lovingly lament, “You know, Gia, if you played more often, you’d be pretty good.”
So this is for you, Daddy. I’ve decided to post a new song every Monday on YouTube, including an original song every once in a while. I hope you enjoy this rather eclectic collection of music from the ’20s through today. Subscribe to my YouTube channel and have these songs delivered to your email every week!