The pink and peach sunset has set the rooms in the front of the house aglow. Everyone is puttering around after dinner doing their own thing. It is peaceful.
And then, from upstairs, the sound of the piano, notes tinkling on the cool air.
My son had his first piano lesson last night. Tonight, he is playing a simple scale, but it sounds beautiful and throws me back to my childhood. Home feels more like home than it ever has – familiar – just because of the sound of the piano drifting from above.
This ode to my son’s scale-playing is rather ironic.
I took piano from a very young age. And hated it. Originally, I think it was my idea. I wanted to be like my mother’s best friend, the girl I had heard so much about. She was a concert pianist by the age of 12.
I’m not sure that I actually wanted to be out there on the stage, but I did think I wanted to be like this girl who my mother thought so highly of. I was always interested in my mother’s childhood and in emulating it somehow.
There were two problems with this particular attempt at recreating bits of my mother’s childhood. First, I was only 5 and fickle and lazy – I lost interest in the piano as soon as it became work. So, right away, basically. Practicing? Blech.
The other problem was that I had (and have) no musical ability whatsoever. I believe it’s something to do with music’s kinship to math and that side of my brain is simply whimpering somewhere in a corner of my skull, overshadowed by the other non-mathematical, non-scientific side.
I remember my mother saying to me often when the classical radio station would play a piano piece, “don’t you wish you could play like that?”
My answer was always a resounding no. No I didn’t. I liked listening to it, but I didn’t want to do it myself.
Her follow-up response was always “if you quit, you’ll regret it, you’ll always wish you could play.”
I doubted her then and, sorry to say Mom, I still don’t wish I could play.
Despite these somewhat grave stumbling blocks, I continued to take piano lessons until I was about 14. At that point, I managed to convince my parents that they were wasting time and money.
What I now understand as a parent, though, is how important it is for children to play and understand music. Well, most children. I maintain that I just didn’t have it in me.
On a deeper level, I also finally see how moving it is to hear your child create music. Real music. And, after tonight, I realize that there was something I must have enjoyed about playing the piano because hearing my son play those few notes brought me so much joy, warmth and happy reminiscences.
So, I guess I got something out of those lessons after all. Just not the ability to make music.