This week I took my second daughter to her first ever Piano exam. I think I may have been more nervous than she was! Sitting in the waiting room (the vestry room of a church in North Belfast) trying NOT to listen to her playing her pieces, it brought back memories of my piano playing days.
My brothers and I all learned to play the piano from an elderly spinster (maybe she was not that old, but to us she seem prehistoric!) who did not believe in positive praise, and I learned more through fear than through the love of music.
She taught in a small gloomy room crammed full of old victorian furniture and wilting house plants. There was an open coal fire which was always roaring throughout the year, whatever the weather! From time to time she would shovel on some “slack” on to the fire, and smoke would billow out and fill the room, making your eyes water and your throat sting.
She would write in our notebooks each week to report back to our parents of our progress:
Sight Reading – Fair
Scales – Very Fair
Minuet – has obviously NOT practiced this…..
On the very odd occasion you would get a “Reasonably Good” for a piece, but that was about it! I don’t think we were THAT bad, she just did not feel the need for excessive praise. The worst time would be if you made a mistake in a piece, and she would rap the piano keys with a ruler that she used to keep time. This would startle me so much, inevitabley I would make yet another mistake.
It is a wonder I even stuck at it so long – I made it to Grade 5, but to this day still hate to play if anyone else is in the room! However I do love our piano – it has be passed down through the family and you can read more about it HERE
Fortunately my kids go to a lovely teacher (“Hi Hazel!”) who makes learning the piano and pleasure.
A few piano quotes for you:
‘Life is like a piano…what you get out of it depends on how you play it.’
‘There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays by itself.’
Johann Sebastian Bach
I also learned to play the clarinet at school, but that is a story for another day.
So, my question for you is – did you ever learn to play a musical instrument? Do you still play it today?
St Patrick’s Day is approaching, and regular readers may know that I host a blogging carnival on 17 March. There will be prizes, so if you plan to post how you celebrate (or how you DON’T!) or you want to find out how we celebrate it, watch this blog!
A bloggy button will be available soon – as soon as I make it!
Finally, I am NOT apologising for not blogging, at least I am trying not to!