My Story as a Black Woman and the Piano

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As I cleaned every corner of the room, I came across a piano. It was rather filthy and dusty, so I began my duty of cleaning, turning the keys pure white. Back in Africa, the white people dumped all their trash near our homes and while I looked through their piles of trash, I spotted a piano. The piano was rusty and small, but that didn’t stop me from playing it. From that day on I would go to the dumpster and play the piano.

In my 20 years of living, I never had the privilege to play on a grand piano before. My dark skin on the pale white keys of the piano made me feel rather uncomfortable but yet drew me in with curiosity. I sat down next to the piano and started playing, my hands instantly started to dance on the keys. I’ve never felt so free in my life!

Then I heard footsteps above me, each step gets louder and louder, closer and closer. Suddenly I hear a voice calling me. My heart stopped and I turned. I saw my mistress with her luxurious handbag, platinum blonde hair and her shallow blue eyes stare at me. I was afraid because she had a fierce look, she had a pleasant look on her face. She looked rather surprised and impressed by my skills. How was she not the slightest bit angry? I smiled at her and hoped to hide my astonishment and turned back to the instrument. My fingertips felt at home on the keys, almost as if they were ready to get lost with me in the world of music.

As I finished, she explained to me how she got in an accident and lost her arm and how much she missed the sound of music. She made a deal with me: if I played for her every day, she sent me to piano lessons. Fireworks were going off in my brain: black women like me would never have the opportunity to even go near a piano!

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I remember my first piano lesson; my teacher gave me a nasty look as if I didn’t belong here. I knew I probably didn’t so that didn’t bother me, at least I got the chance to have classes.

My dream was to be the first ‘colored’ woman to go on stage and perform. I perceived my dream and worked hard every day, still working as a maid but also practicing the piano. One day my mistress announced to me that she signed me up for a competition, my heart raced. I thought about the moment I would walk out on stage, more than a thousand pair of eyes staring at my dark skin rather than my actual performance.

Every day I would play to my mistress, I played over and over again until she was happy with my work. When I didn’t clean, I would spend most of the time on the piano, practicing until everything fell in place.

After three months of practicing, it was time for the competition. The host cleared his throat and announced my entrance to the stage. I walked out. The sound of my shoes filled the entire place, every pair of eyes finding its way to me. My hands remembered the way they moved like when I practiced, the familiar tune in my head. Minutes later as I ended my piece, I heard clapping. I stood up, turned around and saw people standing with smiles of joy on their face. I looked at the piano, then my fingers and smiled.

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My Story as a Black Woman and the Piano. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from
“My Story as a Black Woman and the Piano.” Edubirdie, 01 Mar. 2023,
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