Thursday, July 29, 2010

My music history and my little pirate

I play the piano, not very well, but I do. I play in Sacrament at church every few months, and I have to have the songs 3 months ahead so I can practice them so people can at least recognize the tune they are suppose to be singing. I started taking lessons when I was in kindergarten in our small town in Wyoming, and I hate to say this, but I absolutely hated my teacher. In my young mind she was the wicked witch. Now I know she was really a nice lady, and looking back as an adult I laugh, but my 6 year-old self seriously thought I was taking piano lessons from the wicked witch of the West, so when my family moved a few years later so my dad could attend grad school and our little tiny apartment had no room for a piano, I didn't complain. I was free from the witch. Then when my dad finished school, he got a job, we moved, and we got a new piano, so my mom convinced me to start taking lessons again. I took from the nicest old man in the world. He was great. I have very positive memories of that, but he was pretty old, and after a few years he retired, so I had to find a new teacher. I did, and she was great. I took from her until high school where with working after school, homework, sports, and all the other things I did I just didn't have time to keep it up, so I quit. Everyone told me I would regret it, and I didn't believe them, but now I do, and I will tell anyone "don't quit because you will regret it." Years down the road I met and married the cutest man on earth that also plays the piano, and we decided when we had kids that they would take piano lessons. We found a great piano at a garage sale in our small town which was amazing. They were asking way too much, and I offered half the price they were asking, and they said, no, so I walked away (there is great power in walking away!). Well, they called me back and asked for my number. Later that day they called and said it hadn't sold, and I could have it for the price I said if I came and got it quick. We did that. Then we figured out a plan to get our kids started in piano. We were living in the same town that I grew up in with the nice old man teacher and the other nice lady teacher. Thankfully we are states away from the wicked witch teacher :) Sadly the older man had passed away, but my second teacher was still teaching, so we decided that at the end of kindergarten we would start each of our kids in piano with the understanding that they couldn't quit until they were 18. Of course a 6 year old agrees to that :) So 3 of my 4 are in piano. My oldest is starting her 7th year of lessons, and she is playing things I played in high school and can no longer play. My youngest will start at the end of kindergarten next May, and it will be interesting scheduling 4 kids around the piano to practice. Getting 3 in there was a challenge, so for Christmas we got the kids a cool keyboard which has headphones which is even cooler when they practice because you can plug them in and not hear them :) It hasn't been the easiest journey, and granted we are only getting started on some. I warn parents whose kids are just starting to be prepared for the "I hate this" time. We have gone through that with our current 3, and I expect no less from #4. You just have to persevere and keep going. Thankfully we have the same good teacher I had who can tell when kids need to ease up or try something different, because all kids are different and learn differently. Every now and again I get asked, "When can I quit piano?" "When you turn 18" I reply. Then I get a grumble, a nod, and then they hit the scales again. I don't know how long I will get that kind of response, but I am keeping my hopes up and expectations high that they will last until they are 18.

Well lately Miss O has decided that she wanted to expand her musical talents. She wanted a guitar. I said that was fine, but she had to earn the money to buy it, and she still had to take piano until she was 18, so she had to be prepared to commit the extra time for practicing 2 instruments. I thought this would be enough to dissuade her, but she persisted, raised the money, and look what she got Monday????
Isn't it pretty??? Now Miss E persists she wants one, but when I gave her the same spiel about paying for it yourself, and still doing both piano and guitar, she seemed to back down a little.
And I just put this picture in because he is so cute! He made the parrot at library story hour. We love the library!


  1. I wanted to kick ManOfTheHouse when he agreed to let our oldest quit lessons (he was 11 at the time) - of course, now the oldest plays for hours a day between the piano and the guitar.

    he's just not a lesson kid. plays completely by ear and has written a lot of amazing pieces. Makes me sick actually :)

  2. I am so gearing myself up for those piano practice battles you talked about. Good to hear other moms experiences and advice. That will be us starting next summer...

    And good job on Miss O actually raising the money to buy her guitar. That's really awesome! Sounds like she has a good head on her shoulder.