A few years ago, Emma Kelly’s Grandma Parvin decided to take piano lessons. I don’t know if that ever happened, but I know that about 2 years ago, she gifted her Yamaha keyboard to her granddaughter. It’s sat collecting dust ever since, but I figured after dance and gymnastics didn’t pan out, it was time to steer my kid toward the keys.
But I also remember my brief stint taking piano lessons. It was awful. My teacher had a sour face and an attitude to match. She told me there was no way I would be able to take my sheet music up with me for my very first recital and that I had to memorize my assigned piece — “The Tarantella.” A tear forms in my eye at the mere thought of it. So I showed up in the little classroom without my sheet music — why bring it if you can’t use it, right? — and every other kid brought their sheet music. And once Diana Jones took hers up with her, propped it up on the piano and played every note perfectly, everyone else felt free to do the same. Except for me. I had no sheet music. So I got up to the piano, went completely blank, and started plinking at the keys as I wept. And as a result of my weeping, snot started pouring from my nose, spilling into puddles on the ivory keys. It was a mess. Seriously. I slumped back to my chair and sat there with my chin resting on my flat chest for the rest of the recital. As my mother drove me home, I wailed to her how embarrassed I was and how I wanted to quit piano. Mama told me I could quit, but I’d have to do the quitting. She wasn’t going to do it for me. So at my next lesson, I immediately told Miss Sour Puss that I never wanted to do another recital. She told me that all of her piano students are required to do recitals and that’s when I told her I quit. I didn’t even stick around for the lesson. I was D.O.N.E.
So fast forward a few decades and I’m walking my daughter into the School of Rock, thinking this would be a fun place to learn how to play the piano. And Emma Kelly and I enter the room as we always do lately — with her face planted firmly in my right butt cheek. She favors the right cheek for some reason. She clings to me as we take a quick tour of the place and then enters the classroom for her first quick lesson, dragging me in with her. The teacher is thrilled. I could tell. Every time he asks her a question, she looks over her shoulder at me to answer. This wasn’t going well. So after about 5 minutes, I decided she could survive me stepping outside of the room. I assured her I wasn’t abandoning her and slipped out the door. And from there, I listened to my daughter go from shy and resistant to argumentative and demanding. Having never played a keyboard in her lifetime, she decided that she didn’t like the way he told her to do it . Her way was better. And then she complained quite boldly that he was making this far too difficult. I peeked around the corner and saw my child with all her attitude plunking on the keys with one hand while the other was planted firmly on her hip. I said a little prayer for the teacher.
As her brief introductory lesson came to a close, I heard her exclaim, “I don’t want it be over!” Ah, but it was. Then she ran out and grabbed me by the neck, whispering loudly in my ear, “I LOVE this! I want to give up EVERYTHING ELSE and just do this!!” So far, so good! But next week is her first REAL lesson, followed by homework assignments and daily practice. We’ll see how long this love affair lasts.