Why is it important that the piano is a musical instrument?

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This is an interesting point of discussion.  On one hand, the piano represents a particular level of talent and focus required to play it.  This is seen in Berniece.  While she no longer wishes to play the piano and, on some level, would agree with Boy Willie about the piano's lack of utility in the modern setting, it is her talent in terms of playing it that enables a full sense of reconciliation between past and present in the hopes for a future.  It makes sense that the instrument where this reconciliation takes place is a musical instrument, something that lies outside of the realm of words and language.  It is almost as if Wilson is suggesting that there is some type of experience on a very spiritual or non- linguistic level that enables individuals to make full peace with the challenges of the past in the light of the present and the future.  The element of art is a very big construct in this.  At the same time, it is not lost on the audience/ reader that the piano carries with it the experiences of the past, both in its most tender and horrific of conditions.  The piano, a symbol of artistic expression and beautiful in melody and harmony, carries with it the story of suffering, isolation, and abuse.  In this, Wilson might be making a symbolic statement about the complexity of one's past and the need for individuals to understand its own intricate dimensions in light of the present and the future.  An instrument of art is what enables this sense of peace to be made.  This becomes relevant not only for people of color, but anyone whose past is marred with multiple visions of pain and divergence and is one that plays a direct impact on the nature of being in the world.

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