Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Of icky piano lessons and regrets as an adult

Un-journal prompt #9

Did you take music, dance, or other lessons as a child?

             Every Monday night at 7 p.m., my brother and I trudged over to Mrs. Smith’s house for piano lessons. I hated it. Hated it.

                Did I mention that I hated it?
                My brother eventually started karate lessons and he got to get out of piano because one of the martial arts classes was held the same night. No fair!!
                I never practiced, so of course, Monday night was a trial.
                How much did I dislike it? Well, my mother was the back-up pianist at church when the music minister wasn’t there. When my mom had a conflict, guess who was tapped to play for Sunday services? I think the choir dreaded those Sundays when I was on the piano as much as I disliked being there. I didn’t even want the money! (Yes, the pianist got paid, no matter how unwilling she may have been about actually performing the task.)
                I don’t know why I didn’t like it, although taking piano lessons not being my idea may have had something to do with it.
 I played clarinet from fifth grade through my junior year in college and loved every moment of it. I remember being so afraid that I wouldn’t make the senior high band. The band director came up to the junior high to audition eighth-graders. I’d been playing the clarinet for three years by then and I dreamed of marching on the field at football games and playing “Rock Around the Clock” (there was a ’50s resurgence at the time and the crowds always went wild when the band played “Rock Around the Clock” and, yes, I did eventually get to experience that moment). I had swimming lessons and could be found at the pool just about every day during the summer. There were myriad of crafts, Girl Scouts, YMCA camp and other outdoor ventures that I loved. But piano. Ugh!
                There was always a piano in the house growing up. My mom still has a piano and an organ (yes, a full-size one like you’d see in a church) and a keyboard. She teaches basic piano lessons.
                Do I regret not paying attention? Definitely. I wish, now, that I’d been more studious at piano so I could sit down at a baby grand and make magic happen on the keys. But today, sadly, all I can manage on the piano are the opening bars to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”

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