Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Moms Don't Know Anything: Piano Edition

Jungle Boy Says

related [litandlaundry.blogspot.com]
Jungle Boy Says

I believe in torturing children mercilessly for no good reason. I believe in doing time at hard pointless labor. I believe in boring children to tears. I believe in piano lessons.

When I first led them down this road, when they were 5 and 6 years old, I told them "You only have to take lessons until you can play the Bach Inventions. All of them. From memory. They nodded their little heads obediently because after all, I was their mom, and they were small, and they adored me and all the adventures I took them on.

All three kids sat together at the teacher's house and took their turns at the piano. A few months into lessons, when she graduated from playing only the black keys, Drama Girl hesitantly asked her teacher about the Bach Inventions.

The teacher played one for her. My evil plot was revealed. The kids were small, but they knew "impossible" when they heard it. All calculations of when they would be "done" with piano lessons flew out the window. They clearly had a life sentence.

They protested. I stood my ground. I sat with them at the piano bench during practice when they were little. Then they graduated to a kitchen timer, and now they practice thoroughly, and well, if not every day. In our house they know nothing fun happens until practicing is done. Want to play on the wii? Gotta practice first. Want to have a friend over? Want to have dinner? Want to live another day? You must practice.

We recently re-negotiated the Bach Inventions deal. Now they only have to be able to play a Christmas Carol at sight. They're actually pretty close to this goal.

As a parent, I get to see the side of the story they can't. How they accidentally fell in love with the power they have over the piano. The thrill they get in mastering pieces. My house is full of waltzes, Mozart, Bach, High School Musical tunes, ragtime and Blues. I see them play proudly for their friends. Last Thanksgiving they put on an impromptu concert for our guests while I finished cooking. I nearly cried. The relatives were suitably impressed. All Christmas season, I awaken to Christmas Carols. Is there any more pleasant way to wake up?

But what goes around comes around, and along with the musical knowledge has come a thirst for more. So now Drama Girl "entertains" us with "Stairway to Heaven" on the violin (ouch!), and next year Wasabi Girl will play the alto sax and Jungle Boy will play the trumpet in the Middle School Band.

I may live to regret the musical beasts I have awakened.

Previously in this series: Moms Don't Know Anything: Hair Edition

15 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Nancy said...

LOVE it! I, too, think all kids should take piano lessons - it so opens the creativity lines. Everyone in my family is musical, and it all started with piano lessons. I can't wait to torture my kids :D

I still remember the tunes my dad taught us as young kids. Great memories :)

Goddess in Progress said...

It's funny, because I'm sure that I was the one who said I wanted to take piano lessons, and yet I always hated them. I begged my mom to let me stop when I started high school, and the bass was by far my instrument of choice. But I learned and internalized SO much more about music theory from those hated piano lessons than I did when I was playing bass. The whole two-clef/chord/key signature thing makes such a difference as compared to the rest of us single-note instruments. :-)

Gerb said...

I'm completely with you on this! I am to the point where my kids are asking for lessons again (small miracle!) because our piano teachers have all quit due to leaving the area and we can not (for the love! They want lessons!) find a teacher who will take on 4 new students. If you have any suggestions, they would be very welcomed. (gerbdonna at gmail dot com)

Cheryl Lage said...

How I wish I had been "forced" to take piano lessons! :)

They'll thank you. (Wow, that's a sentence I keep repeating to myself over and over....)

We did the Twinterview! Now YOU need to ask your twosome which seven they're listening to!

Kelsey said...

Oh that is just too funny!! Dennis is doing paino and he loves it, but he just gets to bang around for now lol

Beth said...

At the age of 8 I taught myself how to play Chariots of Fire on the Organ just by ear. Perhaps I was a musical genius... but I shall never know because I never persued it further than that. Good for you for "encouraging" the lessons.

Kellan said...

I took piano as a child - for 7 years. My twin daughters took piano for 5 years. My son is taking guitar. It's nice to learn about music and learn and instrument - but it is hard to get them to practice!

Have a good day - Kellan

Kellan said...

I took piano as a child - for 7 years. My twin daughters took piano for 5 years. My son is taking guitar. It's nice to learn about music and learn and instrument - but it is hard to get them to practice!

Have a good day - Kellan

Good & Crazy said...

I hear you on that last part! Even awful piano is tolerable...but 10yrold just took up the clarinet...

Now that's painful!

noble pig said...

Oh I think it's wonderful! They will be so happy as they age with their musical talent!

mames said...

i would love to hear her version of stairway on violin...it has to rock.

thanks for coming by my blog. the fabric is by heather ross, she has super great whimsical prints. you would love her.

franticallyimple said...

That was well written enough to make me want to go through the torture of making my daughter practice again. I think I still have the piano teacher's number...

Elizabeth said...

Never...you will never regret it!
I have my kids planning to play violin, french horn and coronet...I want to hear those Handle pieces all year long!
Scooter is already a pretty good pianist, Tilly is starting harmonica and recorder. There is nothing cooler than kids who can truely entertain the guests!
Blessings, E

Fiona said...

I teach piano, and I wish I had a dollar for each of the hundreds of adults who have said to me (when they hear my occupation) "my parents made me play the piano, but I gave it up ... now I wish I hadn't" - I would truly be a rich woman! If only I could get my own kids to practise more ... maybe we need a Wii - LOL

cynthia said...

Piano Story for Kids - Introduce your child to piano with this on-line piano story. Piano Bears Musical Storybook - Little Bear's Musical Garden Read it now - it's free!

With Kindest Regards,

Cynthia Marie VanLandingham

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