Sunday May 18th 2008, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Family

My newly-tuned piano is heavenly, as is the rare treat of time with my son to listen to him playing it. With great verve and energy. That piano was handed down from my grandmother to my mother to me.

When I was a kid, the house rule was, piano practice absolutely took precedence over any TV watching. Being one of the younger children, from the time I was eleven on up I was the only one taking piano anymore. And it wasn’t exactly an instrument I could carry into a separate room and shut the door, like my sister’s flute or my brother’s violin.

So if I were mad at my siblings, I could take out my stress and vengeance, both, by practicing, like, real loud, drowning out their entertainment. And believe me, I did.

What goes around…

Three of my kids took piano lessons. (The oldest opted for oboe.) No rules about the TV, because there was no TV here, but still, there was one time about ten years ago that I called my piano technician because a key didn’t play. He came, took the lid off, and pronounced that someone had hit that one so hard as to break the hammer clean off.

I knew exactly which kid it would have been, too. So much my child. Although I should rescue him here and say the instrument was a good deal older by then and more fragile than back in the day and had suffered through two sets of moving companies since when we got it.

You should hear the kid play. He did his practicing over the years–he’s good.  Music to my ears.

Mom was right: do your work, and it pays off all your life and on into the next generation.

9 Comments so far
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That reminds me my piano is overdue for a tuning, not that I can tell. What I do notice is the squeaky pedal! I still enjoy listening to my daughter practice each day.

Comment by Lynn 05.19.08 @ 12:11 am

Somehow the picture of you and your son both pulling a piano type trick like the ones you told doesnt surprise me 🙂

Comment by Danielle from SW MO 05.19.08 @ 5:09 am

Nature or nurture? Both maybe?

I’ve always wanted a piano. There’s no room for one right now, but someday…

Comment by Channon 05.19.08 @ 5:52 am

I’ve always loved piano, but when I was a kid, there was no room for one- I never even asked for lessons, it just wasn’t possible. I took flute. (As a practical ten year old, I thought it would be easy to carry on the bus. It was.) I have no idea where my mom found the money, but she not only got me the instrument, but also private lessons (I believe initially motivated by a sincere desire to improve the quality of my practicing ASAP!) After my band years, the flute went into the closet and didn’t get played for a long time.

I never got rid of it though, and eventually wandered into a folk music crowd, which inspired me to pull it out again. I had to teach myself how to play by ear, but now I play often with my husband and with friends. And I still read music- the early training makes it far, far easier for me to look up and learn new pieces than doing it purely by ear would be.

And a few years after I started playing music again, I got a good-quality electronic keyboard, and took some piano lessons. I have trouble finding practice time, so I’m still not a stellar player. But I keep at it.

I will be forever grateful that my mom made it a priority to get me those music lessons as a kid- they’ve been an enduring source of joy to me.

Channon- if you want to play, consider an electronic keyboard. You can find ones where the sound is very good, and which do a good job of varying the sound based on the attack on the keys. And they take up a lot less space (and can even be stored when not in use, though I recommend leaving them out if at all possible- practice tends to happen less if you have to get the instrument out).

Comment by RobinH 05.19.08 @ 6:18 am

I too had to do the music lessons on the piano. I wasn’t very keen on it a the time. Although looking back, I think it was the instructor who insisted I had to do these awful musical pieces with umpteen multifingered chords. They sounded awful. And who wants to play music they don’t like? although now I can impress my hubby when we are at someone’s house with a piano by sight reading a piece fairly well, considering I haven’t touched a piano in years! (well, except fo those visiting instances)

Comment by Carol 05.19.08 @ 8:31 am

True, so true! Hard work pays! The piano sounds wonderful having been in the family so long!
Isn’t it satisfying to hear all the years of lessons come rolling off the keys at your child’s hands. Ah, yes, will hear Youngest next weekend. Can’t wait.
Television…we haven’t had one for years, & it’s never been missed…too much life to live to be bogged down by such a thing. 😉

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 05.19.08 @ 9:46 am

I’ve had my piano since I was six. I don’t play much these days, but I was lucky. Lucky to have two non-musical parents who nurtured my musical interests, and helped me to find a good piano teacher who encouraged me to see that practice is fun…especially when playing what you want…and yes, less disruptive than TV. (I played right over the TV in the family room when a younger brother insisted on cutting into my practice time.) I still lug out my jazz standard collections every now and again…and someday? I’ll play my guitar and sax again too, I bet. I just keep them around for when I’m good and ready. 🙂

Comment by Joanne 05.19.08 @ 10:05 am

I also have my parents’ piano, on which my children have learnt to play. We do have a TV, but the key rule here is no computer stuff until homework/practice are done. My kids are 15 and 13 now, and between them, as well as the piano, they play cello, guitar, bass, drums and keyboard, and write and record their own music and lyrics. It’s a huge source of pleasure and pride for me, and makes me think that my years of watching over them practicing are paying off.

Comment by PrincessPea 05.19.08 @ 2:42 pm

Oh I had accordian and clarinet practice – I so understand

Comment by rho 05.20.08 @ 5:58 pm

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