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?
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.