1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 Secret Code….or Something Else?
I’ve been running these numbers through my head off and on all day. It’s because of something I may have in common with your seven year old daughter or son – I’m taking piano lessons!
I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano. My parents acknowledged that but never ran out to buy a piano for me. My brother wanted to play the guitar and poof! – a guitar appeared. But this was not a sibling rivalry or bad parenting issue. My father was in the military and we moved quite frequently. Not only were pianos expensive but moving one often just didn’t seem rational.
“Honey, Listen to me play ‘Old McDonald’. Oops, let me start again.”
I envy musicians. The ability to make beautiful music for yourself and/or others, to have a creative outlet for expressing yourself must be wonderful. I remember hearing my next door neighbor when we lived in a townhouse, playing for her own amusement. Once, later, I mentioned how I had Ioved to hear it and she was greatly embarrassed. She shouldn’t have been; I was in awe of her skill. I heard some really talented musicians last weekend and allowed myself to fantasize what it would be like to be able to create new music, to play favorite pieces, even to sing so beautifully.
Am I supposed to put both thumbs on middle C?
But I digress. When my seven year old son wanted to learn to play the piano, we were able to buy a used piano from another family who’d “outgrown” it. Son turned out to be fairly gifted and still plays when he’s home from college. He has a keyboard at school; an easier alternative to move back and forth. It shares space with his guitar and ukulele. He’s said over and over, “You should take lessons, Mom.” I’ve toyed with the idea for a long time but didn’t want to go to someone who would want me to do recitals and other standard programs (and yes, I asked teachers and they did expect that.)
I can play scales!
Then last week, a friend of mine who is a technical consultant (and talented pianist) mentioned that work had slowed down quite a bit. A light bulb went off and I asked her if she’d be willing to teach me to play. She’s only taught her children but we have the books from her children and mine. She has a lovely baby Grand which outshines my upright and makes (almost) anything sound better.
What do you mean my right hand plays different notes from the left at the same time?
I had my first class this week. We can progress a little faster because I can read music and because I’ve watched others and used the books around the house to peck at the piano for fun. I told her my goal is to be able to play “Happy Birthday” and at least one Christmas carol with two hands. Small goals, but it’s a start. My teacher showed me how to practice scales so I’ve been at the piano, doing it every time I walk by. I’m also working through the beginner books, to make sure we cover all the details. I’m more driven than your average seven year old starting out, I guess, but I don’t have as much time to enjoy the result.
Come listen to me play Old McDonald now!
I wrote a post a couple of months ago about surprising my children with my willingness to try new things. Maybe it’s my Parkinson’s disease to blame. I know I have to stay mentally nimble and physically fit to fight this beast. Learning new things is a great way to stay sharp until my Parkinson’s wins control of my brain cells. The tai chi class I take is both physical and mental practice. Other activities support one or the other. The piano lessons will definitely help. Truly, having a degenerative disease does give you a sense of the limit of time. I hope to squeeze all I can into what time there is. I want my children to see that I fought hard and long and kept learning. Meanwhile I can’t wait to play “Happy Birthday” at the next birthday dinner! Wish me luck!
Psst…12312345 is some of the right-hand fingering I was told to use while practicing scales.