Wanted: Piano Teacher

Listening to the flames snap and crackle in the fireplace, enjoying a glass of wine, and nodding at the brilliance of the Kratt brothers, I silently claim that it has been a very good day. The Kratts are a sibling team of animal adventurers whose show on public television is like crack to our two boys. It’s an educational, fun and interesting approach to story-telling through its real-life-turned-animated characters that I appreciate. Our oldest wrote his first fan letter to the Kratt brothers and invited them to come fishing with him sometime.

Shaking off the rain, I decided to light our first fire of the year tonight. It helps to fight the post-swim lesson chill and looks so pretty in the living room. Our youngest desperately wanted to help light the fire, and before I turned around he had stacked three pieces of wood by himself on the (unlit, still cold) grate.

The living room got a bit smaller today, but that’s ok because it’s the result of our brand new piano!

More accurately, we are now the proud family of a brand-new-to-us, gently and lovingly used piano. It’s a standard upright and bears a few scratches. It needs tuning, but sounds impressive against our hard wood floors. I played off and on for most of my childhood, took a few semesters of piano at college, but I’m rusty, darn rusty. After our gentlemen team of piano movers left me alone with her, I sat down on the sofa and just looked at the piano for a while. It feels so very grown-up to own a piano. In fact, it is the most grown-up I have felt in quite some time.

Slowly, I took my place on the bench. Did I remember how to play? How to read music?

I did.

I do.

Paging through well-worn sheet music gleaned at my parents’ house months ago, I looked fondly at the pencil marks made by music teachers above the notes and in the margins. I remembered playing scales over and over and attempting to reach certain chords with my small hands (not desirable for professionals). I’m not sure I remember the names of all of the keys, but now I’m thinking about taking lessons again.

Many years ago I sat down to perform at a recital. I may have been ten years old. The room fell silent as I sat there. I didn’t play a note. I drew a complete blank on the music and quietly returned to my seat. So much of childhood piano was practice, memorization, and more practice. I’d freaked out, and it’s a good thing it wasn’t a graded competition. I don’t remember what my teacher said after my non-performance. The funny thing is I don’t recall feeling too bad about it, either. I guess my mom didn’t make a big deal of it, and I went back to practicing when I got home.

The boys were each in turn completely surprised at seeing the new piece of furniture-slash-instrument when they got home from school. An argument ensued (of course) over who could play first, but they settled down as they “played” a few songs for me. Our oldest is ready for lessons. I explained about the keys and the notes on the page, but I couldn’t remember how to get started in a way that makes sense to a non-music-reading six-point-five year old. Next stop: music store for a book of beginner lessons. I’m going to re-learn how to play, and then I’m going to attempt to teach my son. I can’t wait.

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3 thoughts on “Wanted: Piano Teacher

  1. shreejacob says:

    Hey..that’s an awesome idea! Refreshing your memory and teaching someone to enjoy the piano!
    I don’t have very fond memories of my piano teacher..she used to rap our knuckles with the pencil or ruler if we made mistakes! LOL

  2. Selena says:

    This is wonderful. There is nothing like the gratification of teaching your children something that you love. I have canned fresh veggies and soups for many years and finally, this year, my 35 year old daughter wanted to learn. Ahhhh……

  3. nichola says:

    my favorite piano teacher in Portland is Monica Sanders – just google her. She’s great with kids and adults, BUT her studio (which is attached to her house) is in SE Portland around Holgate and 58th. So not terribly convenient from NoPo. I would love to see you and your boys learn to play!!

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