Picking up the piano is a great hobby for people of all ages, but you need to understand that singer-songwriter Sir Elton John will take some pretty serious measures to ensure your failure if he feels threatened by your progress at any point. Here are a few deterrents you’ll want to be on the lookout for as you start to learn the basics.
1. He’ll paint five fake pianos around your living room to deceive you: About the time you play your first C scale, Elton John will likely shimmy into your house through an open window and paint five impressively lifelike pianos on the walls to confuse you. His technique is surprisingly photorealistic, with expert attention to shadow and perspective, but the illusion quickly falls apart if you’re not standing perfectly in the center of the room, so this probably won’t cost you more than 30 seconds of practice time. Be aware that Elton will stick around to observe his handiwork, and as you approach the correct piano he’ll shout, “Wait, that one’s a fake!” to mislead you. This is a lie and actually a helpful sign you’ve found the right piano, so just sit down and start running scales as if he isn’t there and Elton will eventually grow frustrated and see himself out.
2. He’ll disguise himself as your piano teacher and tell you the only note you can legally play is G: Most of Elton John’s sense of self-worth revolves around his perceived notion that he’s the only piano player of above-average skill in the world, so it’s only a matter of time before his vanity drives him to show up at your door in a gray wig and sunglasses claiming to be the kindly old neighbor you’ve been paying for music lessons. Elton will throw his voice in a high falsetto even if your real teacher doesn’t talk like that, and he’ll spend the entirety of your 45-minute lesson explaining that G is the only note anyone is allowed to play due to a recently passed law. He’ll have you play a few rhythm exercises on G and tell you some cautionary tales about pianists who were caught playing D-sharp and sent to gulags, but you can wrap things up quickly by calling his bluff and playing a C. There’s a chance he may continue committing to the gambit and proceed to call the police on you, but this is merely a scare tactic, and if anything, the police would get mad at him instead of you.
3. He’ll try to reflect sunlight into your eyes with an enormous sequined hat: Elton John needs to believe he is the undisputed king of piano in order to get any kind of restful sleep, and that means somewhere around the sixth week of your training he’s going to wind up in your yard trying to blind you with an oversize sequined top hat. Sequins aren’t great at focusing light, so at worst this will cast some slightly distracting glares on your wall. But honestly, chances are you won’t even notice it. Just understand that if at some point you look out the window and see Elton John wearing a big shiny hat while cackling and mischievously rubbing his hands, he’s doing that because he wants to cause you permanent eye damage so you will abandon your nascent interest in the piano. It’s best if you just roll your eyes and keep practicing.
4. He’ll rewrite “Candle In The Wind” with lyrics that imply Princess Diana died from crashing into you: A quick heads-up if you decide to attend an Elton John concert while learning piano: Toward the end of the evening, a spotlight will come down on you and Elton will launch into a new version of “Candle In The Wind” that refers to a “piano-learning interloper jackass” who “doesn’t know his place” and “stands immobile in hockey pads before the Pont de l’Alma tunnel waiting to shatter England’s heart.” It’ll get especially tense when he reaches the spoken-word bridge section from the perspective of Princess Diana that admonishes you to give up your pursuit of the piano so she can finally enter heaven, and you’ll definitely feel some angry glares from the crowd during the accusatory final chorus as he sings, “And it seems to me this impostor here / Body-slammed her car / And clapped with celebration as he pissed on her corpse // And his footsteps will always fall wherever piano’s poorly played / His candle will burn out long before / He ever gets decent at piano.” Still, if you can ride out your discomfort and keep your eyes on Elton’s hands, you should be able to pick up some useful pointers on wrist position and form to employ next time you’re practicing “Für Elise.”
5. He’ll give you $3 million in cold, hard cash: Should his first few schemes to derail your piano training fall flat, it’s only a matter of time before Elton’s territorial paranoia gets the best of him and he resorts to truly drastic measures—namely handing you a briefcase with a cool $3 million in it to persuade you to abandon your musical ambitions. Once he gives you the money, he will proceed to suggest luxurious new hobbies to spend all your time on, like art collecting or exotic animal ownership, and he’ll offer you invitations to several exclusive clubs in exchange for what he’ll refer to as “an understanding between piano champ and piano chump.” Despite the tremendous size of his bribe, he won’t actually ever have you sign anything saying you’ll give up piano, so you’re free to continue doing introductory hand-independence drills as long as you understand that Elton will be much more pissed off by you than he was before he gave you $3 million. Honestly, it’s best if you just do whatever the hell you want and try to ignore the guy.