Friday, May 28, 2010

Musical Touch

When I was first married, we had a tiny house with 2 bedrooms, each about the size of a coffee table.  My sister was moving out of state and wanted to get rid of her piano.  Unbeknownst to me, she made a deal with my beloved husband:  he paid to have the instrument moved to our house and he could have it.

I first learned about this deal when the behemoth was being hauled into our second bedroom (no kidding, I have friends with bigger closets).  When I asked about it, he was giddy with excitement:  "Isn't it great?!!  Can you believe Perrine didn't think this was worth moving to Virginia?"  I said, "Wow, Sweetie, uh, so you thought it would be a good idea to bring it here?"  

Because, uuuuuhhhh, the one thing we needed was a giant musical instrument that neither of us could play.  Actually, I had taken lessons as a child and had heard my elders remark that I had "touch," which was what passed for musicality in our family.  The truth is, I wasn't much for practicing.  I just wanted to sit down to the keys and amaze the whole room.  After that kept not happening, I gave it up as a hopeless cause.  Suffice to say, there was no good reason for me to give up that kind of house space to a piano.

A few years and one mortgage on a larger residence later, and our sweet daughter Gem turned seven and entered second grade.  We had decided that she should learn to play a musical instrument.  Since we already owned a big honking piano, we had it tuned up and found a teacher.  Mrs. Cradic was a nice lady in the neighborhood and an excellent, patient teacher for Gem.  

From the beginning, Gem liked playing.  She practiced conscientiously and matriculated under Mrs. Cradic's tranquil guidance.  Liked playing, but did it mostly because it was required, like reading and math.  There were times when she said she wanted to quit, but we didn't let her (didn't let her quit school, either).  There were times when she really enjoyed piano, and those became more and more frequent.

Now that she's almost 14, we are all reaping the rewards of Gem's hard work.  She is at the stage now where she plays for herself.  Her classical training mixes nicely with her teen penchant for rock/heavy metal.  She got a chance to participate in a Jazz ensemble at NOCCA, too (not her thing, but had a great time).  

I love working in the kitchen, looking over the stove and watching her as she works out a musical puzzle for herself on the keyboard.  The sound tracks of movies (Pride and Prejudice!), computer games, and iTunes all provide new musical ideas and directions for her curious mind and eclectic sensibilities.  So far the only thing she doesn't like are Christmas carol sing-alongs (maybe this year...Good King Wenceslaus is my favorite).

Gem still studies and practices what her teacher (since Katrina a new teacher -- also much loved) assigns.  She also plays whatever strikes her fancy.  When we signed Gem up for lessons, what we wanted for her was to have this music, this skill that she can enjoy for herself and share with those around her for the rest of her life.  It is such a delight to see this dream taking shape.  Lucky us!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your comment Amélie. In answer to your question about the oils...I have done tons of research and found out that safflower and/or sunflower is much better for you then canola oil. They are made from heart healthy nuts...and there has been recent controversy on canola oil.
    Olive oil comes from olives, peanut oil from peanuts, sunflower oil from sunflowers etc... but many people ask what is a canola? Through research I have read that Canola is a genetically engineered plant developed in Canada from the Rapeseed Plant...while some sing canola's praises, there are many that do not. I decided that from now on I would stick with oils of things I know are safe, like olives and nuts. Hope this is helpful information. Have a great week!


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