Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Piano Lessons

Everyone who has ever signed their kid up for a musical instrument understands the position of the cowboy renegade in the movies.

Except instead of saying, "Okay Sherriff, Dance!" we're stuck trying to hotglue our children's seats to the bench and place their fingers on the keyboard "Play...play it again...play it for old times' sake....I've set the timer...play before the time goes by..."

Threats don't work well in the realm of musical instrument practice, "Practice or no more lessons sounds curiously like a reward rather than a big stick." Whenever I mention...you could play the piano...children's bladders have an instantaneous urge, or there are homework assignments that haven't been attended to...or gee, that book looks interesting...in fact, the only chore dreaded more than practice is laundry...I did try that once...practice music or fold socks. I was actually bummed out when she chose the tickling the ivories over sorting the whites.

Now I know music builds hand/eye coordination, reading skills, helps develop brain synapse overlap and creates a life long skill that most people come to appreciate long after the weekly lessons have stopped, but I still wonder, what lessons is this weekly/daily struggle teaching me?

Well, I never really learned to read notes...so I can now FACE and EGBDF with the best of them. My teachers always had to play songs for me before I would try them. I can now sight read as a intermediate and have even ventured into looking at new pieces...something beyond the Spinning Song and the Happy Farmer...those never get requested at parties...maybe that's why I'm not invited to many. The lecture about playing a piece three times each, putting that into practice has really been an intellectual effort on my part not to be a hypocrit. I know it works...but even I chaffe at having to do it...darn it, why was I right on this one?

Still, after getting my daughter who actually requested this extra curricular activity to practice, she conceeded, she likes the idea of being able to play more than the reality of learning it. And I gave in, and told her we didn't have to continue.

Followers of this blog know that I name my appliances and important non animated tools that aid in this galactic struggle we call parenting. Today, the piano earned it's name after five years of servicing us sans a monicker..and the piano's name is Lonley. "Because it's only happy when we play it." My daughter explained. Then she set the timer for me.

"But I have laundry to do."
"It can wait. You always say we should make sure we keep proper perspective on things and do things every day to enrich our brains and increase our talents."

I hate being quoted back to me.

She leaned forward and looked earnest. "I don't think folding socks improves your brain or your talents. Besides, you're always saying you don't do enough things that have no purpose other than being good for you --like exercise and reading and..."

I meekly sat at the bench. Lonely and I were in for it.

She even put out my piano books so I wouldn't be able to stall as she had in locating the sheet music.

"What are you going to do while I'm practicing?"
"I'm going to fold socks to help you out Mom." she smiled. "And to make sure you practice each piece three times."

"Lonely, this looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

1 comment:

MightyMom said...

3 times??!!!???

My Mom (who was a piano/voice teacher at the time...well still is actually) made me practice each piece as many times as I was years old!! Not bad when I started (at age 3)...not good now (at age 33).

but it gets in your soul and eases aches you can't name. trust me...once you get past the GBDF..ACE part it really does.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!