They are not like us, but they walk amongst us, unseen, unrecognized. Am I the only one to have noticed them? I’m not talking about aliens, not even Australiens. Nor am I talking about members of the Republican Party, celebrity chefs, or long-distance truck drivers. You might think this is about about extreme knitters, professional darts players or other athletic types, people with eidetic memories, street magicians, or people who can solve the Rubik’s Cube. Those are all admirable groups in their own ways, but no, I’m not talking about any of them.
Let me take you back 60 years to when I was in short trousers. I remember a game we played that illustrates what I mean (remember there was no television in those days). The object of the game was to rub your tummy in a circular motion while patting the top of your head AT THE SAME TIME. Remember that? My sisters used to torment me with it, as I found it impossible to send different instructions to each hand. Nowadays I’m lucky if I can coordinate the index finger and thumb on one hand!
Yes, you’ve guessed it – I’m talking about piano players, humans (if they really are humans) who can play a completely different tune on the piano with each hand AT THE SAME TIME. How they manage this is beyond me. And don’t forget that they have to co-ordinate the use of the foot pedals as well!
These are extraordinary individuals. Their brains work in ways I can’t even begin to understand. This is multitasking taken to the extreme, the two hemispheres of the brain acting independently, and yet coordinated by some third part. Google ‘boogie woogie’ and take a look at Johan Blohm playing bookie woogie. You’ll be amazed as I was.
I just wish I’d learnt to play the piano when I was a child. I’d give my right arm to be able to play the piano like that, today.