While waiting to go out, my daughter and I played the piano. I chose a waltz by Chopin. To me, this was a lively and lovely piece which children might like.
“Daddy,” Angelina commented after I finished, “you are very noisy.”
My immediate association was the legendary piano accompanist Gerald Moore. The title of his autobiography was exactly Am I too loud?
Many friends know that I can play a few musical instruments, but my classmates in secondary school would know that I spent most of my lunch and after hours working as an accompanist. I played for the choirs, violinists, cellists, rehearsed for musical play singers, you name it. Sometimes, I accompanied others at Royal College exams, which to a young boy really earned me a fortune.
At one memorable occasion, our school organized a variety show and invited students from other schools (mostly girls, of course!) to perform. While I was hanging around at the backstage, a young lady who was going to sing was upset because our system could not play her sound track. After asking about the song, I said I could do it. The performance went well. Years later, I found out that she was IK the psychiatrist. It is a small world after all.
Interestingly, despite of the title of Moore’s book, he is well known to raise the status of an accompanist to an equal partner of the soloist. This certainly has never been my ambition. As an accompanist, I learned to listen to and assist others. The skills very much shaped my future behavior.