Monday, May 17, 2010

sing a song of sixpence...(Monday 5/17/10)

When I was seven I began taking piano lessons.

My first piano teacher was fabulous. She was young, hip, and enjoyed playing duets with me. I loved heading to her house on Tuesday afternoons. I loved playing the piano.

When I was nine, we moved from Seattle to Southern California, and my mother found a new piano teacher for me. She was ancient, strict, and she would slap my wrists if they fell while practicing scales. I didn't love playing piano anymore.

I had a "bad" habit of playing by ear. At the time, I couldn't figure out how she knew I wasn't reading the notes anymore, but she always knew! She would slap my hands and yell "Stop playing by ear! READ the music!"

Within a couple of years I stopped taking lessons. The soul had gone out of my music, I didn't feel like playing, and mom wasn't really into forcing me to practice.

When I was in high school I began to play again - for myself - picking out the tunes I knew by memory...a bit choppy at first, but soon those old, familiar, haunting sounds came back and I played with verve and gusto and passion! BY EAR! Soon I started composing my own pieces or playing songs I'd heard on the radio. I loved piano again. I was never a virtuoso, by any stretch, but playing was magical to me.

When I was in my early 20's my mother called...she was in the process of packing up the house for the move to Texas. She asked me if it was okay to give my piano to a local church or if I wanted her to move it again and keep it for me. I was living in California, or New Orleans, or Kentucky; lugging a piano around on the back of my car probably wasn't going to work out very well, so I told her to give it to the church.

Music has always had the power to move me - it can bring me out of an angry mood, make me sing along, dance, laugh, even cry. I have a very eclectic collection which spans the decades: from Harry Belafonte to Queens of the Stone Age; Johnny Cash to Marilyn Manson; Van Morrison to Rob Zombie. Berlioz and Tchaikovsky, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, Peter Paul and Mary, John Denver...it goes on and on. I have collections on vinyl, cassette, cd and mp3. I am constantly adding to my own infinite playlist.

For your prompt today, I'd like you to think about your favourite songs or musical compositions, even an instrument or sound that inspires you. Write about it; how it moves you; what inspiration or feelings it can unearth in you.

and p.s. I'm looking for a piano again...

10 comments:

thelmaz said...

Karen, I love this blog. Thanks for letting me know abou it.

Clara Gillow Clark said...

Thanks for this post, Karen. I've always had a great passion for music and my violin but in recent years, I stopped playing. Time to play again.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The piano may be gone. But the music lives on in your soul, and its spirit will never go away. Thanks for this blog, Roland

Renie Burghardt said...

Ah, well, it is the violin that touches my very soul and brings tears to my eyes, reawakening old memories of Hungarian gypsy music that I loved as a child. The violin can tell tales of sorrow and joy and love. I don't play the violin, but ah, that music stirs me! I think I'll go find my old Hungarian violin music CD right now.

Cheers!

Renie

Jason Michaels said...

I once took piano lessons when I was 7 at school. Unfortunately she retired the next semester.

Jason Michaels said...

I have one you can have. I need to be tuned!

Joanne said...

Can't carry a tune in a bucket, but I wanted to be a Supreme. Motown is in my soul.

Brenda said...

I played piano by ear, too. My grandmother wanted me to someday be the church pianist, so she paid for my lessons. Like you, I wanted to do my own thing. Everything came to a screeching halt one day when Maw Maw came to pick me up. "I don't see any NEED of this," Miss Louise said, throwing up her hands in disgust, "Brenda just will NOT do like she should!" :)

KetzerMusic said...

Assignment complete: http://ketzermusic.blogspot.com/2010/05/kimbo-does-modern-dance.html

Cathy C. Hall said...

This brought back memories of my ballet days...when we moved, my new teacher was much more demanding (though as I recall, she was kind to me). Still, I felt so far behind the other girls and finally quit. Only to dream about being a brilliant dancer. Sigh.

Such are the regrets of little girls who grow up to be moms who send their daughters to Rockette Camp. :-)