Posts Tagged With: Keyboard

It’s Gratituesday! Musically Reclined, Inclined, Realigned

Piano pedals on a Grand Piano.

Piano pedals on a Grand Piano. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey, guess what?  It’s Gratituesday!

One of my earliest memories is pretending to play the piano on a wooden shelf while one of my mother’s piano students banged away at a song in the adjacent room.  I was an extraordinarily gifted pretend piano player.  When my mother played I became a prodigy of the imaginary keyboard in front of me.

Later, I graduated to playing my own compositions of rainstorm, the high notes, and thunderstorm, the low notes, and tornadoes, running my hand up and down the keyboard.

How anyone tolerated this noise is miraculous to me.

Mom taught me the basics.  “Here we go, up a row, to a birthday party,” became my favorite song for a few months, because I could play the entire song.  Even if it was only eight measures and one hand.  When I learned to add the left hand to make a harmony with my right hand, I was ecstatic.

English: Photograph of bust statue of Ludwig v...

Photograph of bust statue of Ludwig van Beethoven by Hugo Hagen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My favorite cartoon character wasn’t Bugs Bunny or the Road Runner.  It was Schroeder, the piano playing, wise man of the of the Peanuts gang.  I longed for a miniature piano with the range and ability Schroeder had.  I wanted my own Beethoven bust overseeing my progress.  I was sure if I mastered the piano I would be master of everything and, even better, that boys would flock to me.  I didn’t really pay attention to the fact that Lucy was the only one drawn to Schroeder and she was a bit nuts, a bully even.

For a couple of years I had a piano teacher that Mom and Dad paid for.  I suppose that was helpful.  I was probably more disciplined about practicing for someone other than a relative.

For as long as I can remember, Mom always taught piano lessons in our home.  Every day after school, and every morning during the summer, students would file in and file out, filling the house with what passed as music.  It was the theme music to our lives.  If any house had a soundtrack, ours surely did and it was filled with stops and starts, hesitation and things played off-key.  But it was a weird, joy-filled music.

Mom’s income helped pay for all kinds of “extras” and let her be a stay at home mom, still caring for us kids. She was always there for us if catastrophe struck, still there for us if a sibling was being unfair, still there for us if we needed the reassurance that she was there.

I’m sure it wasn’t easy.  We probably drove her crazy with near constant interruptions, too much noise, too many questions.  But she taught a gazillion kids the piano, and she taught me the piano.  She also taught me and patience and persistence.

She also gave me the gift of music.  I’m not a concert pianist. I quit lessons as a teenager.  But I can plunk out a kids  song, accompany a choir, and play for enjoyment.  I am blessed beyond measure by this singular gift. How grateful I am for my piano teacher mom.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Music | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Few Notes about Infinity

Analyzing a piano keyboard when I was very young, six or seven years, maybe younger, I remember thinking that all the possible songs that could be written would have been written by time I was old enough to try to write one myself.  With only eighty-eight keys, I was certain that there were a great many possible ways to arrange them into songs, but that it would be a limited number.  Surely, eventually, all the notes would be arranged in all their possible arrangements.  My young brain tried to figure out eighty-eight times eighty-eight times eighty-eight without much success.  Not that math of any kind would have helped my flawed thinking.

I told you I was very young.

Tickling the ivories

I’m sure there’s some developmental thing in a child’s brain that keeps them from recognizing the idea of unlimited or of the infinite.

It’s been more than a few decades since my naïve theory on the limitations of musical possibility and I still can’t fathom the infinite.  Unending numbers? Gaaa!!  The Universe?  Too big!!  My brain does this twisty, jerky stuttering thing, like our old Toyota truck does at intersections, the idle not quite keeping the engine running smoothly.  And my stomach joins in with this weird rumbling, sputtering thing when I attempt to grasp the idea of forever.

Maybe there’s something in the human brain that only recognizes limits, boundaries, the corporeal and the tangible. Maybe it’s just me.

It’s not that I don’t believe in those kinds of things, it’s just that I can’t get my head around the ideas.  There’s no experience to measure it against and no comparison to give me perspective.

Call me childish.  Call me naïve.   Rather than putting too much energy into the unfathomable, I’ve chosen to simply enjoy the music.

You can revel in the music today, too!

The links below will take you to some fun and varied piano selections.  It’s just a tiny taste of what’s out there.   Enjoy!

Flight of the Bumblebee

Bruce Hornsby (The Way It Is)

Nightnoise

Horowitz in Moscow 

Piano Guys (five of em) 

Victor Borge (on the muppet show)

Boogie Woogie

Jarrod Radnich

Categories: Music | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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