Thursday, January 12, 2012

Making music

My dad is very musical. (He's also artistic - a painter - which rather begs the question as to how he ended up in a science profession). I grew up in a household where the casual making of music was normal - Dad would whip out his guitar and we'd play around with harmonies and melodies, often.

For me, I learned piano as a child. I wasn't very good, but nor was I awful, just pedestrian; able, with practice, to gain adequate competence (and to learn to read musical notation, which is a skill I happily retain to this day). I haven't played for a really long time, though, and I'm rusty.

My husband G spend a brief period in high school playing clarinet and then saxophone, but never, he tells me, attained great competence in either, and has no useful memory of them. He does, however, have a wonderful singing voice, and loves music - always has.

When I was pregnant with my youngest child, 3 years ago now, G expressed a desire to learn to play the guitar. We procured him an instrument but the year that followed C's birth was so full-on that it was pushed to the back of a cupboard for easier times. In 2010, as things started to settle down, G got out his guitar and taught himself a few basics from Internet tutorials, but it was hard for him to make real progress that way.

Then, last year, G and E, my 6 year old, started guitar lessons together. While G took to it quickly, it was a bit much for E - she found the attentiveness necessary hard to sustain and strumming guitar strings didn't satisfy her need to feel pressure under her fingers (that is, itself, a post or ten, but probably not for here, maybe for my private blog). My 8 year old took over her lesson slot in term 4 and instantly proved herself to be a fine little guitarist in the making. She and her Dad are already playing simple tunes together and it's giving them such enjoyment, I can't tell you how nice it is to see them both flourishing.

E, G and I talked about it and concluded that the instrument that would best suit her needs (and that I'd be happy to do with her) was the piano. Pianos can be rented, or keyboards purchased, of course, but to do either is an investment, and certainly buying one was out of the question for us this year (until I land my Dream Job TM, whenever that may be :-)

Then, earlier this week, a colleague of my husband's offered us a piano. For free. In perfect condition. All we had to pay was the transportation costs.

Then yesterday my friend and her daughters came for a playdate - my friend who is, by trade, a music teacher, and who has offered to teach E and I privately, at a time of mutual convenience.

Amazing how kind people are sometimes; amazing how the universe gives you a free one, sometimes.

It was delivered today and already the 6 year old is in love, and my fingers are remembering the pleasure of drawing music from a piano. I know there is work and practice ahead for us all, and that the kids will go through stages of being bored with it and wanting to chuck it.

But oh, I am happy at the thought of a housefull of music, no matter how hesistant and bumpy it is at first.


  1. I like the new piano mum

  2. What a magnificent story. I am sure it will be great to have in the house. Just at a friends house recently his daughter is taking up keyboard. It sits ready to use in the living room and my boys keep on going to it and playing, I have asked them if they want to learn keyboard and they have said yes. We will see how we progress there. However, the thing that I thought was most interesting was by having the instrument always in sight in a regularly used part of the house seemed to be one of the key things. I hope your E has a great time learning with Mum.