Piano Watering: A Quirky Tradition

Day 093 Week 14 Q2 Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Piano watering may sound like an odd concept, but in regions like New England, it’s a vital practice for piano owners, particularly during the dry winter months. The plummeting humidity prompts regular humidification efforts to preserve the instrument’s integrity. This involves adding water to a tank connected to a heater, dispersing moisture into the piano, and ensuring its optimal condition.

Having lived in California for over two decades, where the warmer climate made piano watering unnecessary, I ponder why the practice was absent during my earlier East Coast days, despite having the same piano. Such regional traditions spark curiosity about other peculiar practices shaped by location and interests. Living by the water, for instance, often entails caring for watercraft, leading to unique setups like storing kayaks indoors. There is a river in my backyard not quite 100 feet from our kitchen and dining room where we can watch it while preparing meals.

In my own living room, this unique black Mason Hamlin grand piano shares space with a black folding kayak—a combination that certainly raises eyebrows. The kayak, perched atop shelves, patiently awaits warmer weather for its maiden voyage. This juxtaposition of musical and aquatic equipment reflects the eclectic nature of creative outliers like myself. Adding to the unconventional ambiance are two digital keyboards, one with an uncommon 73 keys, and two cellos, including a bass cello tuned to a low F. And there is also an acoustic bass guitar with black tapewound strings. Such assortments, while unusual, epitomize the creative freedom that comes with embracing outlier status.

There is also a pile of recently completed books, not unusual except they are all the same because I am the author of Involuntary Innovator, and they are near the musical instruments because when I perform I also sell some books to the audience along with CDs of my original music. 

As if the living room weren’t enough, the dining room boasts an unexpected collection of five spinning wheels belonging to my wife, further illustrating her penchant for eclectic hobbies and interests. These unconventional combinations serve as a testament to the unique perspectives and passions that shape individuality. In a world where conformity often reigns, embracing eccentricity adds vibrancy and richness to life’s tapestry. So, whether tending to pianos or paddles, it’s these idiosyncrasies that make life truly colorful and memorable.