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Music Lessons!

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Saturday, March 06, 2021

Like almost every little girl in the 50s and 60s, I took piano lessons: starting at age six! Walking myself to my music teacher's home, several blocks away, in the early mornings before school for my lessons: a scary proposition in itself, with everybody's dog out unleashed. My goodness, learning the piano involved a lot of discipline and efforting and practice and considerable sternness and performances in stiff crinolined dresses and examinations with results published in the local paper . . . not entirely a pleasant process. Eventually, when I was 12 years old, I got my grade 8 conservatory piano and grade 2 theory, which was then a graduating high school credit. My parents thought it was best I have a credit "in reserve" before I started in case I found high school academics too difficult and was in danger of not graduating . . .

Well, I did eventually recover my love of playing the piano and for many years owned an old upright, playing for the pleasure of our own little kids. That piano, impossible to tune, has been gone for many years now, however . . . and probably my hands are too arthritic to be able to play now. Now I am enjoying the opportunity of listening to music in the evenings and for sure all that early musical training affected my ability to appreciate not only music but the other art forms that evolved in the same eras.

However: those piano lessons and scary exams and enforced performances could so easily have turned me off all things musical and all things aesthetic for life!!

So what a pleasure it was last evening to be invited to participate by ZOOM in the piano concert of a former Ontario neighbour -- the nine year old girl who'd made Henry her special friend. The whole focus of her piano lessons is on composition. Each child had written his or her own original composition and performed it, with obvious poise and confidence and pleasure to richly deserved applause.

Our little neighbour was dressed up glamorously in multiple pearl necklaces and earrings for her "Night in New York City" piece, played with verve and emotion! Henry, sitting on a chair between the two of us, watched intently on the laptop: he clearly recognized her and was very interested indeed to see what melodious sounds she could make!

Such a different approach. Such different results. These children were developing musical expertise because they were directing their time and attention towards something that clearly gave each of them pleasure. They had skill; in some cases, quite remarkable skill for such young children. And they clearly understood something about musical composition from the inside out.

It was quite wonderful to hear.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • POLSKARENIA
    Lovely blog. I never had the chance to learn the piano, although I wanted to. I sang instead...
    35 days ago
  • WANT2BTRIM
    Nice story
    36 days ago
  • THROOPER62
    emoticon blog
    37 days ago
  • UPTOIT59
    I was one of the view children who didn't have piano lessons or a piano to even tinker with - I felt very left out of all that my friends were experienced - many years ago. emoticon
    37 days ago
  • THINCPL2004
    Great blog
    38 days ago
  • AMUSICALLIFE
    Wonderful story.
    38 days ago
  • JUNETTA2002
    Awesome
    38 days ago
  • MARKSMOM3
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    38 days ago
  • HEALTHY-SPARK
    What a fun story - thanks for sharing!
    38 days ago
  • LYNCHD05
    Coming from a large family there was no money for piano lessons but I did play in the school band and taught myself a little piano when I babysat at a home where they did have a piano. I so admire those who can play.
    38 days ago
  • KITTYHAWK1949
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    38 days ago
  • no profile photo RACHNACH
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    38 days ago
  • THOMS1
    I took piano lessons also and loved it until the teacher told my mother I had no talent. I also had no rythum But I still love the piano. emoticon
    38 days ago
  • SUSANYOUNGER
    Piano was such an ordeal. My teacher was so boring, that all my love for learning piano went out the window.
    38 days ago
  • SHAKERATTLEROLL
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    38 days ago
  • BONIFIANT
    I enjoyed my piano lessons except for the recitals. I have never been sorry that I was able to learn to play both with proficiency and musicality. I was privileged to be taught from the conservatory level 6 for the two years we lived in Canada but Dad's work moved us back to the States before time to take exams. It is a hard task master but a better teaching method than the one used by some of the teachers I had over the years. With the pandemic and the need to isolate at home for us chronologically challenged people, I no longer take my turn to play for a service at church but I still play for my own enjoyment even though all I have now is a keyboard. Music grounds me - especially classical music.

    I have enjoyed reading of your experiences this morning.
    38 days ago
  • ETHELMERZ
    Happy memory. We could not afford lessons, but I learned French Horn in elementary school because the music teacher was part of regular school curriculum back then, and they had an orchestra. Did not cost anything back in those days.
    38 days ago
  • RHOOK20047
    So nice to have a talent that produces for years.
    39 days ago
  • MAREE1953
    emoticon How fortunate you were to learn how to play piano as a child!
    39 days ago
  • ADIRONDACKMOM1
    Beautiful story of days gone by, but, days remembered.... Love your blog! All of my children were given the opportunity to play an instrument. They were all given piano lessons except for one child. Only one remained playing to this day, but for pleasure only. Still, we feel as though it gave them structure, discipline and an interest in something other than their daily typical lives. All my children have a broad and loving appreciation for music, and they have great mathematical skills as well.

    Piano lessons are very beneficial for a child. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    39 days ago
  • no profile photo GRAMPIAN
    Great. emoticon
    39 days ago
  • PLCHAPPELL
    Great story
    39 days ago
  • MTN_KITTEN
    Ahhh ... music for the soul.

    So glad you and Henry got to see your sweet friend enjoy herself.

    I took piano lessons for a minute. The lady down the street introduced me to the piano and I loved it. She moved away and my parents decided to pay for lessons. I never could get the hang of reading the sheet music and my instructor had very, very little patience with me.
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    39 days ago
  • NASFKAB
    Reminds me of the time my Ma wanting her only child (then) to be an accomplished singer & I hated it in the end she took the lessons instead. But she would play the harmonium but sang beautifully.
    39 days ago
  • BKNOCK
    I had to play the violin because we owned a violin from my father!
    40 days ago
  • HARROWJET
    very nice
    40 days ago
  • TERMITEMOM
    It's wonderful to find a music teacher focusing on creativity by stressing composition!
    40 days ago
  • DOVESEYES
    Wonderful and I can just see Henry taking an interest too enjoying the time with you both :)
    40 days ago
  • PHEBESS
    It sounds like a wonderful Zoom concert, and I'm so glad you and Henry enjoyed hearing your neighbor friend!

    Yes, educational theory in ALL subject areas has changed dramatically since we were children. Now, the focus is on a holistic approach - touching on all aspects of the subject, especially real-life applications of the subject at hand. It really is a more more realistic and reasonable approach to education, isn't it?
    40 days ago
  • QUARTERMASTER3
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    40 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
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    40 days ago
  • BROOKLYN_BORN
    Just when I find myself sad about the effect of the pandemic on in person performances, I read something wonderful about how you and even Henry were able to see a live ZOOM performance by someone you care about.

    Now you've triggered another memory for me.
    How did my daughter (Hayburner) end up a prize winning concert pianist with Joe and me as her parents.
    Very unlikely - as she once told a reporter. Mom only listened to the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkle.
    Too long to explain or maybe I better search my old blogs to see if I once wrote about it.

    It's not only about opportunity is it. It's also important how that opportunity is presented.
    As one that inspires interest and excitement or just drudgery and dread, even fear.


    40 days ago
  • SUSIEMT
    That wad such a different experience. I think the music teach should be commended! I just have horrible memories from my piano experience. My teacher was wonderful except she expected to have recitals. I couldn't preform in public. It was awful. I admire anyone that can play a musical instrument! That was sweet that Henry recognized his friend! (((HUGS)))
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    40 days ago
  • ONEKIDSMOM
    emoticon One of the blessings of pandemic times has been a boost in creativity, and the performing arts are among the beneficiaries!
    40 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    How cool was that? It brings smiles to my face today. It is so nice to have a neighbors like that, as it makes you not feel alone in this world.

    I'm glad you enjoyed seeing her and also Henry did too. I bet he misses her.

    Have a great Saturday and take care.
    40 days ago
  • NANASUEH
    It is wonderful to turn these kids loose and let them express what they want. My grandson created his own notation and wrote songs from there.

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    40 days ago
  • MOLLIEMAC
    Oh how wonderful and progressive! I too went through the terrors of the piano teacher and the awful Royal Conservatory exams and of course the "performances" expected when we had company. My kids took early piano lessons, then my son switched to clarinet and played in a community band and my daughter took up the alto sax and played in her high school band. Much more enjoyable for all! Love the image of Henry enjoying the ZOOM concert!
    40 days ago
  • THERIGHTDEB2021
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    40 days ago
  • SLENDERELLA61
    How marvelous! That sounds incredible. My grandkids played piano for 5 years and 3 but didn't really enjoy it. I still do the old fashioned lessons, but even with arthritic hands (actually, just one sore thumb) I truly enjoy it. I think it is good for my hands and definitely good for the brain. I did buy another approach to learning piano, The Piano Guy, that is definitely less rigid. But I finally decided the old method was good for me!! Good to know there is a more updated approach for kids, tool.
    40 days ago
  • JEANKNEE
    emoticon Sounds wonderful to have shared in the experience. I'm sure the former neighbor appreciated your presence and attention, even if it was a virtually shared experience. I can imagine Henry looking on with interest.
    40 days ago
  • SLIMMERJESSE
    What fun!
    40 days ago
  • JEANNESPARK
    What an experience, wonderful!
    40 days ago
  • NANCY-
    Music is a gift that keeps giving throughout our life. as a 10 year old, I had to lug an accordion to lessons. Too bad I couldn't have played the piccolo, but my mom picked the instrument for me and the instructor was a famous Polka band leader and friend of the family. All my boys played various instruments, even if it was for a short time.
    40 days ago
  • OVERWORKEDJANET
    Sweet!
    40 days ago
  • no profile photo INCH_BY_INCH
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    40 days ago
  • JHADZHIA
    Memories. Its so much better when the child takes an actual interest in what they are learning. How special to attend that zoom to hear her play and that Henry got to enjoy it too! Even with an unpleasant early experience, its hard to be turned off music, its just so moving and uplifting. I wouldn't be working out if I couldn't listen to music and of course, the music is what drives my favourite class of Zumba. I had no interest in dance, had never danced in my life and considered myself to have two left feet, but Zumba showed me I could actually do it, even to the hyper fast salsa rhythms!
    emoticon emoticon
    40 days ago
  • HMBROWN1
    Our piano teacher lived three doors down. All the little girls in the neighbourhood went and took piano lessons there. We went until we finished Grade 8 and 2 theory also! I did not enjoy it at the time either. And neither did my sister!
    40 days ago
  • LSANDY7
    Music lessons were offered in school for band instruments. I wanted to learn the flute. Too expensive to purchase for our family. My cousin had an unused clarinet sitting on a shelf. So clarinet it was. I am most grateful to have learned to read music on the treble clef. The bass clef remains a mystery even today.

    How great is Zoom in this day of pandemic restrictions. So glad you got to enjoy the concert last night.
    40 days ago
  • GRANDMA524DAR
    I can picture Henry listening to his old best friend!
    40 days ago
  • 1CRAZYDOG
    How wonderful you got to zoom that young girl's concert. How impressive the students composed their own music!

    Music is a huge part of my life. Did take piano lessons when I was in elementary school till I graduated high school. So soothing. My father loved classical music and jazz. Mom loved Bert Bacarach, Randy Newman, Herb Albert, and . . . to my surprise, Janis Joplin. So, very eclectic music in our home.

    Definitely glad for the blessing music is in my life.
    40 days ago
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