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Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

Okay, so maybe Ami wasn't actually American, but she'd spent the better part of her eleven years in Chicago. Exposure to two extremely different cultures had taken its toll on Ami's piano playing, although not in a negative manner. Chicago had given Ami the exposure to jazz, swing, and syncopated rhythms and bass lines, and her uptight-upright piano teacher in London had taught her nothing but classical music from all eras, although mostly romantic.

Right after Ami unpacked and brushed her teeth (trains had always made her feel icky), she'd slipped away from the mass of students and scoured the enormous castle top to bottom, searching for a piano. Finally, on the fifth floor, she'd found a piano in an empty classroom (presumably Music) that sorely needed tuning.

Now, perched at the edge of the piano bench, Ami drummed her fingers on the black and white keys, searching, yearning for something to play. Something familiar, something that could fill the empty hole inside of her. To her surprise, her hands started moving of their own accord, flying across the opening riffs of Two Beds and a Coffee Machine. When it came time for the verse, she couldn't stand to open her mouth to sing, but just played the whole song instrumental. She finished with an adlibbed flourish and dropped her hands in her lap.
Last edited by Ami Procoppio on 29th April 2018, 11:52 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

Mardella was lost. She had been in Hogwarts for under four hours and she was lost. She'd been sure she was following the rest of the Gryffindors up the stairs, but somewhere in between the portrait of what she'd thought was a footballer (but actually a very ugly wizard) and the tenth or so flight of moving staircases, the rest of the first years had disappeared on her.

She tried not to look like she was having second thoughts about coming here. Right about now, Ma was probably scolding Tiordan and Dad for not putting their tools away after dinner, and Jorah was probably reading quietly in his room. Dillon was undoubtedly hitting the gym for one last late night "sesh" before calling it a night. The tall, gangly eleven year old wasn't even sure where she was in the school anymore. She'd bucked up the courage to ask a few portraits but each had given completely different directions.

Mardella scowled crossing her arms as she strode down the corridor, trying not to look as anxious as she felt. Oh dear. What if she had to go to sleep out here tonight? And no-one ever found her? The castle was so large there were probably about a hundred different places that had never been explored before. "This isn't very funny." She said aloud to the walls, voice wavering. Was Hogwarts doing this personally? She'd heard people in the train saying it was sentient.

Something caught her attention up ahead. She couldn't make it out at first, a fluttering of chords and melodies that seemed to echo from a doorway further down the corridor. She shivered, tugging the sleeves of her grey jumper over her hands, but approached slowly. This was exactly like something out of a horror movie. Schoolgirl gets lost in dark castle, approaches mysterious music room, surprise! No one is playing!

Steeling herself, she turned the doorknob just as the music stopped with a flourish. The door opened with a loud creak as the room was revealed. "Hogwarts?" Mardella blurted out.

"Umm...Della's just fine though..." // STA: 7 // AGI: 7 // STR: 6 // CTL: 3 // ArcP: 2 // ACC: 5 // School Broom

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

Ami stared at her hands in her lap, breathless, panting slightly. It'd been so long since she'd played that song, the last time (or attempt, to be more accurate) was with Thomas, and that was a year ago- the last time she'd been in Chicago, with her father. Old memories flashed back, and homesickness overwhelmed her. She was so, so tired, she just wanted to go and sleep. Get over yourself, Ami, she told herself sternly. You're at Hogwarts. Enjoy it. Make your mother proud. She rubbed her eyes, blinking from exhaustion.

Suddenly, she heard someone say, "Hogwarts?" and looked up to see the girl in the doorway, and Ami's eyes bugged out of her head. "Hi...? No, I'm, uh, not Hogwarts...?" she laughed nervously. "It's Ami. Ami Procoppio. I'm pretty new. Hi. Hello." She assessed the girl, taking in her cloak colors (red and gold were... what was it, Gryffinpuff? Gryffinclaw? No, Gryffindor, that was it) and Oh my goodness, Ami thought to herself, smiling slightly. Gorgeous hair. She's so lucky. I'd probably kill to have that hair. She turned back to the piano, flushed (who said she was good at social interaction?), and drummed her fingers aimlessly on the keys, not making any noise. Finally, she thought to ask, "Oh, right. What's your name?"

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

The classroom itself seemed to be a little dusty in disuse, the old desks and chairs pushed up against the walls to make space for the modest little piano with a straight back in the centre. The girl in the room - because now she could see it wasn't some creepy piano playing by itself - jolted, likely mirroring the surprise she felt. Perhaps she should tell Tiordan to lay off on the horror movie marathons, Mardella bit her lip.
"Hi...? No, I'm, uh, not Hogwarts...? It's Ami. Ami Procoppio. I'm pretty new. Hi. Hello.""
Mardella coloured, the flush on her face lighting the tips of her ears red at her unintentional slip. Now that she'd come a little closer, she could see that the pianist's hair wasn't brown like she'd thought but a fiery colour in the low light emanating from the wall sconces placed around the room. Her accent was a little off, perfect English but with a distinct sort of American tang that she recognized from tourist season on the Mile.
"Oh, right. What's your name?"
"Sorry, I thought..." you were a creepy projection of Hogwarts. Well, it was a silly idea anyhow. She started again, "I'm lost, and -" and then paused, blushing bright when she realised the girl hadn't asked what she was doing here. "I mean, I'm Mardella Bram." She padded closer to the centre of the room, noting a little wryly that they seemed to have the same untameable hair. Did the other girl have to braid her's back tightly out of the way, or did she use some other trick when she wanted it away from her face?

Finally, she gave a little shrug, stopping beside the piano with a sheepish look. "I kind of got separated from the rest on the way up to dorms, and I heard you play a bit." The tall girl tugged at her jumper sleeves, stretching the wool to cover her knuckles. "You're really good - how long have you been playing for?"

"Umm...Della's just fine though..." // STA: 7 // AGI: 7 // STR: 6 // CTL: 3 // ArcP: 2 // ACC: 5 // School Broom

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

Of course the gorgeous girl with the gorgeous hair had a gorgeous name to go along with. Mardella Bram. Ami let that name roll around her head for a few moments, savoring the double 'll' combination, the sharp and exotic 'rd'. 'Br' was always a nice consonant blend, too.

As Mardella approached the piano, Ami unintentionally tuned out a bit, panicking at the thought of close-distance socializing. Taking a deep breath, she reminded herself, You survived Chicago, girlfriend. You can handle a British eleven-year-old. "You're really good," she vaguely heard Mardella say. "How long have you been playing for?"

Ami snorted to herself in her head- Good? Only experienced, not necessarily good. She quickly did the math in her head, and said, "Coming up on ten years. I'm sorry about your being lost, Miss Bram. This castle really does getcha, doesn't it?" She cringed internally as she realized she sounded like her ancient American grandmother and tried to tone it down. Tucking her loose hairs behind her ears, she pulled it back like she was going to make a ponytail, then twisted it around like she was going to make a bun, and then clipped it to her head with a huge, black jaw clip. "Do you play, Miss Bram?"

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

There was a slightly odd look to the other girl's face at the complement. Oh, maybe good wasn't something nice to say to musicians? Mardella wracked her brains for something to say.
"Coming up on ten years. I'm sorry about your being lost, Miss Bram. This castle really does getcha, doesn't it?
She nodded absently and then blinked, a decade? "Wow, that's... you started when you were one? Merlin, that's amazing!" Mardella eyed the girl with a bit more awe, she was pretty sure when she was one-years-old she'd been trying to run around the house naked. "You know I think I heard someone mention a music club, or something on the train - you should definitely join!"

There wasn't even paper on the little shelf on the piano, Ami had seemingly been playing from memory!
"Do you play, Miss Bram?"
Mardella winced. "Er, please just call me Mardella, or Della - my last name makes me feel like I'm working in the shop again." And then scratched the her cheek, "No, not really the musical type to be honest. More of an outdoor kid? I like listening to music though, what were you playing earlier?"

"Umm...Della's just fine though..." // STA: 7 // AGI: 7 // STR: 6 // CTL: 3 // ArcP: 2 // ACC: 5 // School Broom

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

"I started when I was two and a half, I'm turning 12 soon, though. So, coming up on ten years," Ami clarified. "I started taking it really seriously when I was nine, though."

"Er, please just call me Mardella, or Della- my last name makes me feel like I'm working in the shop again. No, not really the musical type to be honest. More of an outdoor kid? I like listening to music though, what were you playing earlier?" Mardella had said.

"Two Beds and a Coffee Machine. Don't look it up-it's about domestic abuse and it's really sad- the first time I heard it, I cried," Ami admitted in a confidential tone. "I only like it for the beginning riffs." Ami played the first two, swaying slightly. She dropped her hands down to her lap, wiping her sweaty palms on her black leggings. "Do you have any special requests?" she added. "I'm trying to play all my first-day nerves away, but I don't know if it's actually working. I'll have to play some more to find out." Ami winked subtly as if there was someone else in the room. "Why'd you ask if I was Hogwarts, by the way? Earlier, when you first walked in?"

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

"I started when I was two and a half, I'm turning 12 soon, though. So, coming up on ten years," Ami clarified. "I started taking it really seriously when I was nine, though."
"Nine? Still, I'm impressed." Mardella flashed the other girl a grin, "Thinking of going pro?" She asked, picking at the frayed threads of her jumper. "I'm pretty sure the music club would be lucky to have you!" There was a small lull between the two girls, a little awkward but not too bad. The kind of silence that occurs when making new friends.
"Two Beds and a Coffee Machine. Don't look it up-it's about domestic abuse and it's really sad- the first time I heard it, I cried. I only like it for the beginning riffs."
Ami said at last, fingers moving on the ivory keyboard to sound a few notes out into the evening air.

"It's always nice when something tells a story though, isn't it?" Mardella smiled reassuringly at the other girl once she'd stopped. "It's kind of crazy that just a few notes can make people feel so much, like when you cut the audio out of a scene from a movie and it just feels different."

The redhead slumped a little, relaxing her arms to fall into her lap.
"Do you have any special requests? I'm trying to play all my first-day nerves away, but I don't know if it's actually working. I'll have to play some more to find out."
Mardella laughed at the wink, pleased the other girl seemed to feel happier. " I don't know? Maybe something silly this time?" She mused airily.
"Why'd you ask if I was Hogwarts, by the way? Earlier, when you first walked in?"
She coughed, flushing again. "O-oh, well, I..." Mardella shifted from her weight from the right foot to her left, looking for a moment like she subconsciously wanted to bolt. "I guess I've been watching too many horror movies recently," She said sheepishly, at last. "You know - those creepy scenes where a side character gets lost by themselves in a dark corridor and they hear pretty music," Hazel eyes widened, "Only no one is playing the piano!" She added dramatically and then she shrugged, "My brother's a huge horror fan."

"Umm...Della's just fine though..." // STA: 7 // AGI: 7 // STR: 6 // CTL: 3 // ArcP: 2 // ACC: 5 // School Broom

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

"Thinking of going pro?" Mardella asked. "I'm pretty sure the music club would be lucky to have you!" Ami laughed gingerly. "Well, going pro isn't exactly up my career path. I'm expected to go into the military- y'know, following in your parents' footsteps or whatever. I don't even know why they're sending me to Hogwarts in the first place. I'll look into that music club, though. It sounds pretty interesting. Do you know where I can sign up? I have no idea where anything is in this blasted castle."

After Mardella's explanation of calling her Hogwarts (the relatives - loving - horror - movies was totally relatable, her father had watched the Saw series with her far too many times), Ami gestured for her to sit down on the piano bench next to her, on the left side. She wiped her sweaty hands on her leggings again, trying to remain calm. "Here, there's a really simple song I like, I think you can play the bass line. Heart and Soul, you've probably heard of it. When you said you worked in a shop, I'm going to assume you worked with your hands a lot, right? You'll catch on really quickly, then- muscle memory and all that jazz."

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

Mardella frowned at the slightly bitter tone Ami's explanation took, feeling sympathetic. The other girl clearly had a dream or at least a passion that perhaps her parents didn't quite approve of. It was almost like looking in a stream in sunlight, a strange sort of mirror reflection to her own situation back home.
"I'll look into that music club, though. It sounds pretty interesting. Do you know where I can sign up? I have no idea where anything is in this blasted castle."
"Well, I'm not sure about in the castle," She shrugged, reminding both of them how lost she'd gotten with a bit of a grin. "But I saw a few posters in the Leaky Cauldron over summer, there must be sign up sheets somewhere in the castle though - perhaps in your Common Room?" She wondered what the Gryffindor Common Room looked like, or the Hufflepuff one for that matter. Did all the Common Rooms look different?

Gingerly, Mardella sat down on the long bench in the space Ami had left for her. The Hufflepuff smiled kindly, lifting her hands up to rest on the keyboard with some sort of musician's grace.
"Here, there's a really simple song I like, I think you can play the bass line. Heart and Soul, you've probably heard of it. When you said you worked in a shop, I'm going to assume you worked with your hands a lot, right? You'll catch on really quickly, then- muscle memory and all that jazz."
The Gryffindor could feel a blush building on her cheeks. "Oh - oh no! You really don't want me playing along, I'm completely hopeless, honest!" She protested, flailing her hands in the air. "There's no jazz involved! I chisel and carve, not - " She gestured at the keys, before catching the other girl's encouraging look. Wilting comedically, because she was a little too tall to pull it off with any dignity, she held her hands up for the other girl to show her where to place them. "Oh, f-fine!" Ami was better than Tiordan was at giving puppy-dog looks it seemed.

"Umm...Della's just fine though..." // STA: 7 // AGI: 7 // STR: 6 // CTL: 3 // ArcP: 2 // ACC: 5 // School Broom

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

"You'll be fine. If you mess up, that's also fine. I had to take this exam once, right, and the judge, she was super duper British, so she was all, 'Play the E scale,' but she said it so weird and with such a heavy accent I played the A scale instead, and ahhh, it was a mess," Ami rambled. "But chiseling and carving. Yo, that's dope, Mardella. So you're a hands-on type artist. I like it. I can work with that." Ami gently spread the fingers of one Mardella's hands apart so that her pinky finger and thumb were eight keys apart. "This hand position? It's called an octave. If you play both notes..." Ami demonstrated an octave higher. "You'll notice they're the same note, just higher, or lower, depending on how you look at it. Do you notice any special about it, the hand position? Look at the keys in the middle, in between your fingers- d'you see any patterns or anything?"

Reducio
Look up a picture of the piano keyboard if you don't know what I'm talking about, and specifically pay attention to the black keys versus the white keys, and keys in between, that sort of thing. If you already play piano, you probably know what I'm talking about.

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

"You'll be fine. If you mess up, that's also fine. I had to take this exam once, right, and the judge, she was super duper British, so she was all, 'Play the E scale,' but she said it so weird and with such a heavy accent I played the A scale instead, and ahhh, it was a mess," Ami rambled
Mardella laughed, feeling a little more at ease. She could imagine how that could get confusing, but at least it wasn't a Geordie speaking! For an American that would definitely be a thousand times worse! She let Ami take her hands, feeling a fission of nervousness when the redhead began actually teaching her.
"This hand position? It's called an octave. If you play both notes..."
The Hufflepuff demonstrated playing two notes together that...sounded the same-ish? Sort of?
"You'll notice they're the same note, just higher, or lower, depending on how you look at it. Do you notice any special about it, the hand position? Look at the keys in the middle, in between your fingers- d'you see any patterns or anything?"
Mardella nodded along, feeling like she'd perhaps bitten off more than she could chew. So the notes were the same, she'd gotten that right at least. She stared at the keyboard, trying not to feel like she was being tested in an exam she hadn't studied for. Patterns...patterns? The keys between her fingers...? She could feel the silence dragging as she tried to frantically think of the right answer. So there were white ones and black ones... right. Somehow that didn't seem like the answer Ami would be looking for. Well...there were black ones between the white ones...between some white keys? Some of the keys were white-white, instead of white-black?

"Er..." She said, at last, drawing the sound out between her teeth. "There's a gap there?" And relaxed her fingers to point at the white keys with no black key between them. "...I think?"

Reducio
Haha, I can see what you mean, but this girl is music-blinddddd i tell you...

"Umm...Della's just fine though..." // STA: 7 // AGI: 7 // STR: 6 // CTL: 3 // ArcP: 2 // ACC: 5 // School Broom

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

"Yeah," Ami smiled. "Exactly. Nice job, most people don't usually notice that." Surprisingly true. She'd tried teaching her father to play, but the only thing he managed to accomplish was punching a hole through their innocent upright in their flat in Chicago. Her mother had gone even farther at their house in London, making the keyboard spark and short out. They'd had to get a new keyboard, and her father had the piano repaired. Ami never tried to teach her parents to play again.

"Okay, so, see this?" Ami pointed to the two white keys right next to each other. The white key on the right had a black key, white key, and another black key next to it, then there were two white keys in a row. The one on the left had a black key, white key, black key, white key, and another black key next to it, before reaching two white keys together. "This one is a C." She pressed the white key on the right. "This is a B." She pressed the one on the left. "You with me so far? C and B. Right next to each other. There's a second pair, E, and F, that are right next to each other, too, but they're further away."

Image

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

"Yeah, Exactly. Nice job, most people don't usually notice that."
Ami, Mardella decided, was a really good teacher. She watched as the other girl proceeded to point out a few new keys and name them by letters. Oh-kay, concentrate! She had no idea how the other girl knew which notes were which, they all looked far to similar. And besides, even staring at the white-black-white-black pattern was making her go cross-eyed, how was she supposed to play on it?
""Okay, so, see this? This one is a C."
"Right!"
"This is a B. You with me so far?"
Mardella gave the other girl a nod, and a tentative smile.
"C and B. Right next to each other. There's a second pair, E, and F, that are right next to each other, too, but they're further away."
She shot the keyboard a panicked look, before trying to cover it up. "...right." Okay, so there was C and...B? It was B right? Or was it E? or D? Oh no, oh no! It was C and...no, the second one was E and F, right? So C and D? C and B? C and G? "...got it....I think?" Mardella scratched one side of her freckled nose sheepishly, before guessing: "It's...C and D? Right?"

"Umm...Della's just fine though..." // STA: 7 // AGI: 7 // STR: 6 // CTL: 3 // ArcP: 2 // ACC: 5 // School Broom

Classical Pop  PV Mardella Bram   Finished 

Ami pursed her lips in a smile. "C and B. The musical scale goes in alphabetical order, left to right- A, B, C, D, E, F, G- it stops at G, though, and goes back to A. Am I going too fast for you?" she asked nervously. "I've never really tried to teach someone piano before... I hope I'm doing okay."

Absentmindedly, Ami started to play the bass line of Heart and Soul while trying to rack her brains for another, easier explanation of piano (spoiler alert: she couldn't). C, C, A, A, F, F, G, G... then she started playing the melody, and softly sang along,

Heart and soul,
I fell in love with you
Lost control,
just like a fool would do,
madly
Because you held me tight
And stole a kiss in the night


She froze suddenly, and glanced shyly at Mardella. "So, so sorry about that. I'm supposed to be teaching you how to play this, not making you feel bad about not knowing how to paly it. But you just heard the song- you'll play the bass line, I play the melody and screw up my improvising a harmonic bass line. At least, that's my goal. I mean, to teach you the bass line, not to totally screw up the harmonic bass line."
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