Saturday, August 22, 2009

Never Too Old

This is kind of cool. We are a semi-musical family. My husband plays piano and is teaching himself guitar. He's also trying to teach second son, Alec, guitar but Alec is not known for being consistent. There's still hope. Chad took piano for five years then switched to euphonium until his braces prevented him from playing. He switched back to piano on his own but I hadn't heard him play in months.

The cool thing is that I decided I would try to learn how to play piano on my own. After several months of sporadic playing here and there, I finally learned two small pieces (I especially like "Scarborough Fair") and am currently working on "Memories" from the Cats musical. I have observed a resurgence of interest in Chad since I have been working on these pieces. I have asked for his help several times since I only read music up to a point. My formal (school) training is in clarinet and choir, which only helps so much but at least I can figure out the notes. And it's fun! When I was 20, I rented a piano for $21 a month and tried to teach myself from a book of music that included Elton John and Steely Dan, not exactly beginner's material. I got discouraged after 6 months and turned in the piano.

Now, at least, I have two trained pianists for help and I'm much more patient with myself. Owning the piano helps. I also have an audience, including the dogs next door who hear me through the window. Playing for an audience makes one sit up straighter, etc. My family also encourages me which is nice, even when I hit the wrong notes.

But the best thing is seeing Chad tackling a hard piece. He's been listening to a CD of the music he's playing and then goes to the piano to work on it. It's wonderful to watch. He really has potential, this young one. I try to be encouraging to him without pushing. I hope, hope, hope, he pursues it.

Anyone out there remember Steely Dan? (I loved the "Aja" album but I was in Jr. High, I think, so I'm probably the only one who remembers!)


jugglingpaynes said...

I've often found that when one of us tries to learn something, it becomes more interesting for others in the family. Some day I would like to learn guitar.

I know how you feel about encouraging without pushing. Chase has a beautiful voice and a good ear for music, but I haven't convinced him yet to take it to the choir. Someday, I hope, I hope... ;o)

Peace and Laughter,

40winkzzz said...

i remember steely dan. can't remember much that they sang, though. i remember in jr high thinking that "dan" must be the lead singer and wondering why he called himself "steely" and what the heck that meant anyway.

i think it is true that when one person in the family does something, it encourages some of the others or at least sparks their interest. my kids all play piano and i know they "feed" off each other!

appleleaf said...

I like the way you don't push Chad to practise, yet you appreciate his musical prowess. Sounds like asking for a bit of advice is just the thing.
In our family, Andrew is the musical one. He plays saxophone and is in a couple of bands, yet that makes him too impatient to give the kids any tuition.
But we all love music.

Cate said...

Sounds wonderful - good on you!

And yep, do remember Steely Dan


Leingang Family said...

Good luck and have fun! I am so enjoying playing piano again after 17 years!