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Sharon Bill Music Tutor & Author

Productive Insomnia

Insomnia has its benefits - particularly where eBay is concerned it seems!

I'm discovering that if you can't sleep there's no point stressing, you might as well put the time to good use. In the past I've tidied bookshelves, I've done loads of washing, I've read edifying texts (like reading the text for 'An Inspector Calls' to compare to the TV adaptation) and many other productive things. The main thing is to be quiet.

It's not unknown for me to do some piano practice at 2am - one of the joys of owning a digital piano. At least I can have the volume way down or I can use headphones.However, I've recently been noticing that although I enjoy the convenience and some of the perks of playing a digital piano (like ZERO tuning fees) that I really, really miss the substance and 'soul' that playing an acoustic piano gives. For a while I've been debating the pros and cons of digital vs acoustic and couldn't choose. The bottom line is that I wanted both! It's at this point that a bout of insomnia saves the day…

Scrolling through various computer screens at some unearthly hour (wrapped in a blanket to keep warm and with the volume switched off) I think I'll have an idle browse through the wonders of eBay - though a little unsure of how p&p will pan out. Eighteen glorious pages of unwanted acoustic pianos thrill my heart! I have a small list of criteria to thin down the list. The main points of consideration were that the piano had to be overstrung (strings in a diagonal X mean longer length and better tuning) and the distance can't be too far - not wanting to trespass too much on my hubbies generous and loving nature. The list was finally whittled down to two potentials and I waited until a respectable hour before I launched the prospect onto my sleepy husband.

That next day a mutually amicable deal is done, both parties making moderate concessions to bring about a satisfactory conclusion and all of a sudden (despite only three hours sleep) I'm rearranging furniture to suddenly house a second piano. I now get the best of both worlds. The new acoustic piano is for me (and my family too I guess) and the digital stays as the workhorse and for nocturnal tinklings.

As usual my loving hubby goes above and beyond the call of duty. Not only does he haul the heavy beast home but he cleans and polishes it both inside and out. Just waiting for the strings to settle and then I can get it tuned.

Everybody here agrees that home feels more like home again now that we have a 'real' piano again. How nice to hear strains of a few bars of 'Clair de Lune' whilst waiting for dinner to be served - no need to switch on, just have a play…

A digital piano has everything that a piano needs - weighted keys and excellent 'hammer action' but an old acoustic piano has 'soul!'