When I was about 12, I briefly studied piano with a creepy, bearded guy (not that the beard made him creepy, but it’s the one thing I remember about him, other than his bizarrely long, nicotine-stained fingers and the fact that he had this absolutely awful pedophile vibe). That did not last long, because we moved to another part of town where cheap piano lessons were not to be found (mostly because I was busy doing other things, like speech team and band, but possibly also because I didn’t want to deal with another weirdo trying to look down my shirt while I poked out a scale on the keyboard). I loved the piano, though, and kept playing throughout the years. But I am mostly self-taught, which is not always a good thing. In some instances – piano perhaps being one of them – it is advisable to have a teacher to critique and guide and encourage you.
S9 started taking lessons from a wonderful, non-creepy teacher last March. Shortly after she began, I happened to mention my own small experience with piano, and the teacher happened to mention that she had another adult student, and it just became obvious that I should become her student, too. Aside from a desire to improve my meager skills, it seemed like a good example to set for the kids, who are being forced to endure their own music lessons. I am such a horrible, mean mom, making them do something so awful as playing music.
So the teacher and I started last June. We began with some easier classical pieces that, after several months of work, I can say are no longer being absolutely butchered at the keyboard but are now, instead, only slightly maimed at each playing. The first pieces were Bach’s Gavotte from the Third English Suite and Beethoven’s Fuër Elise. At our teacher’s Christmas party I played a version of Peter, Paul & Mary’s Gone The Rainbow. In late December, I started working on Mozart’s Fantasy In D Minor. I even accompanied O8 at her violin recitals the last two weekends. Nevermind that my hands shake uncontrollably when I play in front of people. If we are never uncomfortable, we are not learning or growing, right?
I still have my childhood piano. It is a modest spinet, not a super-high-quality instrument, but she’s served her purpose without complaint over the years, and it’s hard to part with her.
But on Christmas Eve, my husband took us out to choose a beautiful, marvelous new piano, which was delivered two days later. So now we have not one, but two pianos in our living room.
I love that, at any given moment of the day, someone is usually playing something on one of the keyboards. Even O8, who is not interested in piano lessons at all, plays daily.
There’s no moral to this story, other than perhaps you’re never too old to learn something all over again.
And that music is for everyone, even cats.