We’re Quite Cultured

March 19, 2009

Today my grandmother’s grand piano was moved into our front room:

piano Don’t you just love the quality of my iPhone picture-taking skills?

It’s not ours to keep; we’re holding it for my brother David because he claimed it. But right now he’s living with my other brother Barry and a roommate, and the spot for the piano in their house is being taken up by a ping-pong table. They have their priorities, you know?

Having this piano here brings back memories. My family and I actually lived with my grandmother for a few years when I was in elementary school. The piano was in her front room, too, which I always considered the library. It was quite a bit more proper than ours though. That room was where I once read, out of boredom, a very old copy of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We had some Christmases there, and our first computer. It was also where I took piano lessons.

I’m not sure whose idea it was to give me piano lessons, but probably not mine. My teacher was a large, white-haired man named Monsieur Lucien, and whenever I said his name I used the most outrageous French accent I could summon. (And in my head that entire last sentence is also in an outrageous French accent.) During our lessons he used one of those metal pointers that are like mini telescopes, and he would whip that thing around and put fear into my heart. I wasn’t particularly gifted at the piano, but it didn’t help that I hardly ever practiced.

At my first (and only) recital, I was a nervous wreck. I just knew it would be horrible, but people would console me by saying, “It’s just nerves, everything will be fine!” and other such nonsense. Because it did NOT go fine. In fact, I screwed up so badly that the audience started clapping before I was finished with the song. I ran into the bathroom and cried.

Fast forward to my freshman year of college. I had some crazy idea that I would major in music, which required taking piano. Once again, I just couldn’t get myself to walk the few hundred yards to the music building to practice. I somehow convinced my parents that it would be a good idea for them to buy me a very nice keyboard so that I could practice in my room. I did practice a little more, but it didn’t really help. During our final recital, the page turner was late turning the page, my fingers got off, and I went the rest of the song playing wrong notes. The worst part was that no one in the audience could tell that the page turner had done anything wrong. The next year I changed my major to Christian ministry and philosophy, and I’ve barely touched a piano since.

Although I’ve had a rocky relationship with piano in my life, it still makes me immensely happy to have this one here. Because now we have a front music room/library just like my grandmother. Now I actually want to learn how to play (not that I’ll follow through with that, though). But mostly because it’s part of my family history, and that is important to me.

Posted in: home, personal, me

Comments on We’re Quite Cultured

  1. 1

    From Mom:

    The piano looks very classy in your front room. I’m really glad you appreciate the family history that goes with it! The only way I could let it go was knowing it was going to B-Ma’s grandchild(ren). I’ll get you some music, in case you want to try to play. No recitals, just fun! By the way, it was B-Ma’s idea for you to take piano lessons. She had been the equivalent of a concert pianist in her youth, and thought piano was great for everybody. Rodda and I took lessons, too, growing up. I wish now I had learned and practiced more. I remember your early recital–with a beginning like that, it’s no wonder you’ve had a rocky relationship with piano in your life! But maybe with no pressure, you’ll enjoy it for yourself while you’re piano-sitting. Blessings!

  2. 2

    From Rae:

    That piano is beautiful.

    I came across your blog while browsing through other blogs and am subscribing if you don’t mind. I really like your writing.

  3. 3

    From Ten On Tuesday | Ten on Tuesday | Kapachino:

    […] 1. When you were a senior in high school, what career did you think you’d choose? Did you? Why or why not? The thing I loved best was singing, so I thought I’d somehow find myself in music ministry. I went to a tiny Christian college (the first time around) and since there was no “music ministry” major instead I started on a double major of music and ministry. I ended up dropping the music part when I discovered that a) it was less church worship music and more classical training, and b) that I would have to take piano classes throughout school. Piano and I have a rough history. […]

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