On the Piano Bench

By Casey Brady

“Many people lose the small joys in hope for the big happiness.”

– Pearl Buck

            Note after note, sound after sound, the grand piano echoes my movements, reverberating with the resonance of eighty-eight unique singular noises, all combining and mixing in ways unseen to create whatever piece my heart desires. The pedal squeaks beneath my toe, and the blend is increased to a smooth weave of quieter sounds, the grand piano relaxing as I allow it to slow. My body relaxes, and I am at peace on the piano bench.

My eyes close, and I allow my fingers to play on their own, dispelling the last stresses of a long day. A sad, minor sound creeps into the recesses of the humming music as I recall the depressing times of my day, and I feel my hands slide to a higher point on the keys, creating an almost bubbly sound, as I remember my happy moments. My left hand falls deep to the bottom notes and a loud, angry minor sound echoes as I remember my worst moments, yet then I shift back up to a quieter sound, releasing myself into the piano, enjoying the wonderful bliss of nothingness and contentment on the piano bench.

I vaguely acknowledge that my dad has come to sit and listen, but I refuse myself the leisure of performing for him. Right now I am not performing, but letting the sounds created by my fingers wash away all my stressed parts and thoughts. Perhaps my father is enjoying the musical cleansing himself, but he cannot have reached full contentment simply by listening. The only way to truly listen is to be on the piano bench.

Now a shout breaks the reverie, and my fingers miss a note. The call for dinner slices apart the hum of the keys, and I finally allow my fingers to come to rest. My dad has gotten up and left, yet I cannot leave until the piano is finished. The final sounds echo to silence, flushing the last bits of tension from my body, and I stare for a second into the convex reflection of the polished, hardened wood. Releasing the pedal, I stand, and the piano bench creaks in protest. I know I will return tomorrow. The contentment held for me inside this magical instrument continually draws me back, and there is no way to resist the happiness I enjoy on the piano bench.


My oldest son, Casey, wrote the above essay for his college applications last summer. His writing transferred the emotions of “the bench” so well, I hate to add anything here that would subtract from the reader’s ambience. 

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! 

Terri Brady

piano boy 2

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Guest Blogger Casey Brady is a senior at Wake Christian Academy, heading to North Greenville University this fall to study Sports Management (business). His soccer abilities can been seen on the current North Carolina state champion team, TFCA 96Boys. Though he enjoys music and blesses others through it, he plans to keep it as a hobby as opposed to a profession. He is a wonderful big brother, piano teacher to the young (including his sister!), friend to many, and recently became a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. I am blessed to call him my son, because of the way he lives out his life verse, Proverbs 1:7.

A special thanks to Casey for letting me share his talents!

The following video was his last recital with his Michigan teacher four years ago (age 14-ish). My! How he’s grown since then – on and off “the bench”!

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13 thoughts on “On the Piano Bench

  1. Music can be so therapeutic! Thank you for sharing yourself through this essay. Know that there are thousands of us cheering you on as you begin your college endeavors, and we can’t wait to see the impact for good that you will have in this world!

  2. Wonderfully moving. It’s clear to see that you, have your fathers way with words and your mothers way of touching hearts with them.
    I agree with Chris, NEVER let anyone tell you you can’t write.

  3. Looks like we have another writer in the house! Bravo Casey-on your playing as well as writing! Already an inspiration, keep up the great work! Well done Chris and Terri for you’re great teaching and examples in&out of the home!
    Blessings!

  4. Beautiful, descriptive essay, Casey! Felt like I was sitting there listening too! You made music here without playing a note.

  5. Wow! First, that essay was incredible! It really did feel like I was right there. And Second, Casey, you played that recital incredibly well!!! Reminds me of my piano recitals….only I never continued on as you did, to play so beautifully. Chris and Terri, you have raised an amazing young man, with amazing talent, in both writing and music! God bless!

  6. Fantastic! Was just sharing with my children that over 20 years ago when living through a very verbally and mentally abusive marriage and trying to hide it from everyone… including my kids. …my only escape was playing the piano at night. The bench was my therapy. Sadness and happiness came from the depths of that piano every night. But it led me to a restful sleep at night. I ended up having to sell it to pay for the inevitable divorce that I had put off for years. My kids asked will I buy another piano someday? Maybe. .. I miss my bench days but thank God I don’t need that “therapy” any longer. .. It would be for pleasure! (Thanks to Life Leadership)

  7. Reblogged this on Nana and Her Superheroes and commented:
    Today I am reposting from a blog I follow: “Letters for Lindsay” by Terri Brady. Enjoy the post by her son, Casey Brady. I see that the apple does not fall far from the tree when it comes to writing talent in the Brady household. This is what I hope to accomplish someday (and why I started my own blog)–to train children to become significant in their own way, and role models for other children in today’s society. Enjoy Casey’s thoughts From the Piano Bench.

  8. What a great essay, Casey! You definitely have writing talents as well as musical 🙂 It’s amazing how the piano can totally engulf the feelings we have inside and can be a release of the tensions we are feeling. My mom always said that she could tell what kind of day I had at school by the music I played on the piano when I got home 😉 God has BIG plans for you Casey!

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