Tuesday, May 20, 2014

the post in which i make a great big deal about music.

so, i've been a piano teacher for a about ten years. it has always helped to pay the bills. but really, more than that, it has kept alive an integral language in my life that was planted when i was young. i began lessons when i was nine. i am, still, a hopeless amateur. i never amounted to anything resembling a concert pianist, and my story is one of the many. i quit too early. granted, i quit much later than the average kid forced into lessons. i kept at it well into my teens, until the intersection of sociability and lone dedication seemed irreconcilable and my very serious and expensive teacher forced my hand. cheerleading won. it sounds so lame now. but really, i have no regrets. i am grateful i worked long and hard enough to retain adequate skill and knowledge to be able to learn some of the best music. i can play, but the worthy pieces still require a lot of solo time and effort at the piano, luxuries i am rarely afforded these days. every now and then i sit and drill through a few measures of a favorite piece from Debussy or Chopin. and it feels so, so good. like coming home, once again speaking a native tongue i've become too rusty in.

tyler knew from early on that i was pretty hell-bent on our children becoming fluent in music. i can't say he entirely gets my passion, but as a lover of listening to music, he is definitely supportive of me as i expose our girls to the world of lessons and instruments. making music is an entirely new experience to the senses. i want my girls to taste it, develop their palate for it, and hopefully indulge and fill themselves to the brim someday. i feel so strongly about this. it's not so much wanting to ramrod my children into an old pipe dream of mine, as much as to open this vast, often unnoticed and under-appreciated world to them. 

music is a language. i'm a huge fan of words {clearly}, but they so often fail to open the channels of expression and potential within. music has the power of coaxing out certain emotions that words never possibly could. music teaches truths and shapes and informs reality. it is important and it is powerful.

my piano teacher had a framed sign on the shelf of her music room, which read

piano is my life
my song
my crying pillow.

i used to stare at that sign during lessons. my brace-faced, pimply, awkward adolescent self really appreciated that quote. i still think of it. here's to more pillows to cry on! pillows that don't just manifest in the form of pills, or substances, or donut binges, or snarkiness and judgment. i've cried into my piano more than once, i'll admit it! and she sobs right along with me, with just the right dose of poetic harmony.

 if my motherly prayers are satisfied, my girls will have good pillows to lean on. they will not only have the power but will know how to express themselves in their fullest form. they will navigate life through actions and words and relationships and faith AND music. oh wouldn't that just be so grand?!

it is a tall life order, to be sure. i am working on keeping it under control, all those mama type of aspirations for my girls. but really, what's a mama without some big dreams for her cubs? dream BIG or don't bother growing a person in your uterus, i always told myself. the details will take care of themselves. i am willing to surrender the specifics, but not the size of their lives.

for now, in practical terms, this means there may be some uphill battles. i've gotta get all tiger mom on them sometimes. practice and discipline and patience must become a part of our repertoire. gosh, it is hard. but worth it. there has been more than one instance of a clash of wills over practice time. and when they pout and are angry that i have taken away the ipad game they are playing, it is oft repeated:

TOO DANG BAD. Welcome to the Renaissance house, ladies, where contrary to the maximal demands of popular culture you will be expected to know MORE than how to text and dress in the form of a Kardashian replica. Now get. to. work.

little by little, we are inching our way forward.
they are such good girls.

my beautiful little music makers.


Lori Haack said...

Our amazing granddaughters--Pop said it brings tears to your eyes. We are so proud of them! Love, Nonna & Pop

ps...they look so beautiful

Lori Haack said...

The future Taylor Swift and Alison Krauss!

Lori Haack said...

The future Taylor Swift and Alison Krauss!

The Mrs. said...

Such pretty, smart, and wonderful little music makers. Those girls are so pretty and personable-just like their mama!