Saturday, August 24, 2013

TroubleMaker, the piano and getting older

TroubleMaker starts piano lessons in September. I'm over the moon excited about this: I've always wished I could play the piano. We've always had musical instruments in our house - as a 'former' aspiring musician, music has always been important to me - my child being involved in music has always been the one thing I new I'd do "right" as a parent.

I went to a fairly 'artsy' elementary school. We had a huge music room with a very well developed music program. I remember singing in choirs and playing various instruments (mostly percussive) from the first grade through to seventh grade. In grade seven, I took up the saxophone. I loved that instrument. I remember my parents banishing me to the addition to practice that first year (was I really that bad?) but practice I did! I played up until eleventh grade when my high school forcibly removed me from the music program so I could take a math course (see here for the results of that decision).

I think for Christmas when I was in the 8th grade (maybe it was 9th?), my parents bought me an accoustic guitar. By the end of the day, I could pick "My Guitar Gently Weeps". Being able to read music was very important... Along the way, we also got an electric keyboard (maybe Christmas 1987?). Although none of us played piano, my Dad felt it was important we had it. It was - it's how I tuned my guitar for the next couple of decades, it was the drummer on the old demo tapes my sister's ex-boyfriend and I recorded and I was able to play Christmas carols in the winter on it.

So, what I'm getting at is that I was fairly musically inclined.

When I was 22 or so, my ex-husband sold my guitars. It's a very long story and I do not think I've ever really processed how I allowed him to do that to me. I still harbour a lot of anger and resentment about it... Around 2003 I bought my husband a used guitar so he could learn to play - he didn't (too hard for someone who'd never taken a music class in his life) however, in 2006 or so, my husband decided to learn to play guitar and he bought himself a new one and started taking lessons.

In 2009, he fulfilled my life-long wish and purchased me a folk guitar and I started playing again. I was surprised how much I remembered! By this time, we had an electric tuner (so I didn't need my faithful, 20 year old keyboard anymore).

I don't play much - my hands are usually to sore and swollen to properly play but I try sometimes because music has always been therapeutic.

Anyway, this year (because I was too late last year), I enrolled TroubleMaker in piano lessons... The kid has a gift - when he was three, he started playing the old electric keyboard and made music. He needed lessons - it just took me time to figure out where to take him.

So we bought a new electric piano (from Costco, of all places). Last night, we set it up and TroubleMaker was so eager to play it! He's played it today again too!

As my husband was putting the boy to bed, I decided to sit down and see what I remembered.

I realized quickly, I remember nothing. I'm not even sure what the keys are anymore. I picked out part of "Pop Goes the Weasel" (one day, remind me to tell you about the drama class I took where I played that song for the class in an impromptu performance) but I was a blank. After ten minutes, it was evident that unlike the guitar, anything I'd once picked up on the piano, was gone.

To me, this means I'm getting old. I remember talking to my other half years ago and was absolutely flabbergasted that he couldn't remember things like his fourth grade teacher or the name of the first girl he kissed... Now that I'm getting up there, I completely understand.

So I'm going back to beginner piano with my son! The program is parent and child driven so I'm hoping, I'll be able to practice along with him because I really, really want to be able to make beautiful music!

Here's the first tinkering on the new machine - I'd love an acoustic piano but we decided until TroubleMaker commits to going all the way with piano, this little machine will work just fine.



  1. I used to play the piano when I was a kid. I took a class on it in middle school and loved it. The problem was that while we did have a small electric keyboard at home we didn't have any sheet music. So I ended up pulling out my dads guitar books, and reading the notes, and then working out how to play those songs on the keyboard.

    Which, was well, interesting. To say the least.

  2. I used to do the same thing! I always found it easier (and less confusing) to read the guitar books than piano score - but I never actually took piano lessons so that's mostly how I learned what I learned.



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