I was a kicker. No, girls weren’t allowed to play football in the 80’s, nor did my rural school in Kansas didn’t offer soccer.
But, as a little girl, I distinctly remember sitting at the piano bench. I wore a handmade dress and black patent leather Mary Janes, knee socks to match. My long wavy hair donned pig tales.
The replay in my mind’s eye shows kicking. Lots of kicking. I’m not proud of it, and I’m sure gouged some pretty deep grooves in our 1960’s Kimball spinet.
Truth be told; I hated piano lessons.
Correction: It wasn’t piano lessons that I disliked, so much as the act of practicing in the ‘playroom’.
To make matters worse, it was partitioned off with a vinyl divider.
Where is your piano?
When practice time came, I kicked, cried, and screamed. I believe that is known as a tantrum. Am I right?
At 7-years-old, I began lessons with an “old-lady” piano teacher, Mrs. Shaw. You must know, that it is for this reason, I refuse to be THAT old-lady piano teacher.
Soon after I began, she retired. (God does grant mercy!)
Enter, Mrs. Sack. She was a nice lady. I liked her fine.
But in the beginning, she insisted that I was playing by ear and she made me start in my piano Primer all over again! That never sat well with me.
For 8 years I slowly progressed in piano lessons. The last piece I learned was Nadia’s Theme (for you young ones out there, it’s popularity was comparable to Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”).
I was annoyed that Mrs. Sack wouldn’t let me play the song by ear, To this day, I can’t look at Nadia’s Theme without hearing in my head, “1 e and a 2 e and a…”
Gasp! She made me count out sixteenth notes! (Read: gushing sarcasm.)
It wasn’t until my Freshman year that music found me. I debuted as a 9-year-old child, Brigitta, in my high school’s production of The Sound of Music. I guess that’s what you get when you’re petite with curly hair!
Voice lessons led me to musical theater’s comedy lead, after comedy lead. Every year, I won accolades in every kind of vocal music competition, and sang in every kind of vocal music group.
Ultimately this led to a scholarship for the study of vocal music in college.
To this day, musical theater/movie music holds a special place in my heart. (By the way, my favorite role was Cinderella in the Opera, Cinderella.)
I share all this in order to tell you that music may not find your child in piano lessons. I hope so, and I will do all that I can to help him/her find a musical voice through piano.
However, as a parent and a teacher, I encourage you to be open to all expressions of music and the arts, whether it be band, orchestra, choir, musical theater, etc.
Piano is a wonderful instrument; it is the best starting point that I know of to begin a relationship with music. It may not, however, be your child’s only instrument.
In my experience, each instrument added to piano only adds to the value of piano lessons. Think: ‘Value Added’; more bang for your buck!
Kudos to you, parents! You’re giving your child a first step in music.