Encouragement, family life, frugal living, inspiration

Pianos Bittersweet Memories… Replaced Again….and the Music Lives ON

My dad and mom received a piano when I was in grade school, in exchange for a painting dad made for them, he being an artist. He loved music and soon all my sisters and I would take lessons. Mom enjoyed it the most, playing by ear. I never developed her talent. It was a gift, for sure as she played beautifully!

Dad’s job at a small town advertising agency was enough to put food on the table and keep us in clean clothing for our family of nine. Still, he would commission his artwork to help pay for his golf and bowling fees. Mom and dad would exchange garden vegetables, laundry or ironing, babysitting or other work to help in our neighborhood for extra cash. I remember that dad was treasurer for bowling and did a lot of managerial, secretarial and even art signage for the golf course he was a member of.

Now, a piano isn’t something that anyone really needs, so this was something quite extravagant for our home. It must have been very important to dad that we had exposure to the arts and music.

Dad bought the Firestone Christmas records every year and played them. I remember his classical music records we would play over and over again. He loved the Lawrence Welk show and would take turns dancing with my sisters and me each week when we watched the program together.

It was dad that made sure we each learned an instrument, even though he got to choose which instrument it would be. Dad had the biggest influence on my music interest. Even though I never went very far with my talent, I made sure I would expose my own family to as much music in our home as I could provide.

I loved our piano, even though it was used. It was an upright. Sadly though, after only two years of piano lessons, there was a big empty space in our living room, when I came home from school one day. I am not sure why it had to go so I can only speculate. I imagine money was needed for something so it was used to barter.

Mom said they got rid of the piano because we weren’t playing it enough. Maybe she was right. I wish we would have had some warning. I told myself that day, I would someday have my own piano. It felt cheated and it made me sad.

Sometimes I will see my neighbor sitting on her patio when I sit at my piano. I wonder if it would be polite to keep the windows open while I practice. Then I will pull down my shades so I won’t be distracted. Why do I worry about such silly things? I have a garden view when I play.

I would love to be able to play without even thinking of who is in the room or in the yard below. I would love to play beautifully for my neighbors and those that walk, jog or bike on the street in front of our home. I should not give it a second thought and seriously….do I think people care what I am doing?

It is strange to me how I get distracted or loose all confidence if someone is watching me. It is why I don’t take lessons. The teacher sits with you at the piano and watches your every move. I never did well for my teacher. I only had one, growing up with my first piano. I think I will take lessons eventually again.

It wasn’t until my kids were in grade school, that I decided to get a piano of my own since mom and dad got rid of ours. You would have laughed to see it. I answered their ad for a piano being sold for just $ 200. I knew I could afford that. I could not wait to see it.

Most people would have laughed and walked away when they saw this piano. It was an upright that had a beautiful sound. This was a business set up in some big garages with many other pianos more beautiful. Mine would be covered with the ugliest cream colored vinyl you can imagine. It didn’t matter to me. I could refinish the exterior if it even mattered. I am that kind of gal! I just wanted a piano that I could play and that I could afford that sounded beautiful.

Soon I was playing for my daycare children and my family. No one was interested in taking lessons, but I knew enough to teach anyone the basics if they did. My eldest son soon decided a person only needs to know one song. He wanted me to teach him how to play Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”. I think he was a 10th grader then. I don’t recall. He eventually did learn the song and I enjoyed listening to him play.

It is silly how much time we spend worrying about what other people think, but I was sometimes hesitant to practice if people were around, or if the windows were opened and people may walk by. I have gotten over that. Now I just enjoy playing no matter what song I am working on.

I try to imagine that all those who take their daily walks, runs or bike rides like to choose a route that goes in front of our house. They stop and listen because I am playing. They wonder if I have mastered the part of the song I was struggling with last week when they heard me play.

Whether playing my scales, a classical piece from Beethoven or a familiar song from a movie, it all is so entertaining and fun for me. One day I may take lessons again but for now, I play just for the fun of it.

I like being teacher and student, only because I don’t have anyone to impress or obey. I will get better until I am finally stuck and want to go further. Then I will be ready for a teacher. I will need one to help me play the really difficult but amazing pieces. I guess I am content being mediocre.

I just know that I must keep playing every day or I will get bored. I will become discouraged and think that is the best I can do. There is no telling how far one can go. It can happen to me too just like anyone else. I have nothing to prove and no big grand dream I need to fulfill. I am over 60 and just playing for the fun of it.

I believe that the better I get the more I will be into the music. I won’t even hear you come into the room or speak to me. I will be in total concentration and under a spell and I won’t even want to quit playing. An hour has gone by in no time at all.

I know that I will always have a piano available to me in my life whether I own it or come across one that is just sitting there in a room, a lounge, any place where you find them. I am floundering when I am without one. I just enjoy an instrument to play and should spend more time practicing. So many things I find enjoyment in that do take me away.

I have a clarinet too but that is not as easy for others to hear. Squeak! YIKES! Still, I don’t want to give it up either. It has been too long since I played my licorice stick. I just love having music around that I can play. Music does so much to one’s heart, mind and psyche. It sets the mood, invigorates the body and relaxes the soul.

Life comes to us as it comes. All is well with my soul. I am happy. God is good.
He has always helped me find a piano for my life. It has always been an unspoken prayer, yet He knows what we desire….what we need….what we love.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.” ( Matthew 7: 7,8)

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