Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Life's Lessons Locations - 5th in a multi-part series

Having the Primary Program today reminded me of another of Life's Lessons that I've learned. Specifically from the piano. I've mentioned my feelings about the piano before and so I'm just expanding on some of that. I'm not a professional musician by any means and know I don't use the right words or know all the ins and outs. This is just what I've learned in my life thanks to the Piano.

My reconditioned piano after it was put back together in Tremonton.

Never did really play right after that taking-apart and putting-back-together episode.

I guess I should say my earliest memories of pianos were at my Grandma's house. Most vividly, I remember my short, round Grandma swinging a broom around while chasing a mouse through the house and losing the battle when it ran behind the piano. When Grandma died and Mom got the piano, I remember finding out mice had chewed holes in the bellows and built a couple of nests under the keys. But then I also remember how cool it was when I got big enough to be able to pump the peddles hard enough so the tunes of "Does Your Bubblegum Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight" and "I Wanna Go Home" were recognizable. But then I started piano lessons and many years later I finally realize how many times I can fit a situation into a piano analogy.

So here are my observations about the similarities between life and pianos -

Let me preface it all by saying the first and foremost lesson I should pass on is: Don't quit organ/piano lessons because you think you'd be the coolest gypsy-hippie guitar playing dude. I guarantee you will regret it and you never will sing "Blowing in the Wind" as good as Peter, Paul and Mary!!!

Of course first off, you need to learn the names of the keys and where Middle C is. It's always good to have a reference point to return to when you get confused or lost in the far reaches of the keyboard. Whether it's All Cars Eat Gas or Every Good Boy Does Fine - you figure out a way to figure out where you are, where you need to be and how to get where you need to be.

And, speaking of how to get there, positioning the right fingers on the right keys makes getting there a lot simpler and smoother. If all your fingers know where they're supposed to be, it's so much easier to stay in control! When fingers are where they're supposed to be, when they're supposed to be there, it's a lot easier to get them where they need to be. Got that?

Once you start playing some meaty songs, it's apparent every piece of music consists of scales in some form or another. So don't complain about that book that is nothing but scales. Practice them anyway. Scales go up and they go down and they repeat themselves over and over sometimes. Some even go up the keyboard for a bit and then go back down the keyboard until you think you're going to run out of keys on that end of the keyboard. But you don't. They always start going back up before you hit the wood.

Practice makes perfect. Resetting the timer ahead may get you outside roller skating or catching bugs sooner but it doesn't help you learn the songs. Times and seasons for everything, right????

Sharps and Flats and Rests are all there for a reason - and not just to mess you up and cause you grief. It's amazing how much cleaner a song sounds when you remember to take all the rests that the composer put there. And the sharps and flats? Well they add variety and keep you on your toes, knowing variety is an important part to life {I mean music}.

Piano teachers tend to make you learn all the songs in a book from the front to the back. Get used to it. That way you learn all the principles you'll need when you're picking your own songs. Even then, sometimes you will still pick a song or two that's too difficult but even then, you're just adding more principles and techniques to your skills as you master the difficult songs.

And yes, just like the pioneers sometimes had to leave their pianos out on the trail to lighten their load, it is possible to leave your talents somewhere along the trail and have them either gone or severely diminished when you go back looking for them.

And a few random lessons I've also learned:

  1. Don't pay professional movers to move your piano. 

  2. Don't take your piano apart to move it erroneously thinking you'll remember where all the little bars and screws and miscellaneous stuff will fit back together {assuming you don't lose or bend the little bars and screws and miscellaneous stuff}. 

  3. Always leave the lid open. There's nothing more calming than two or three little ones pounding out the feelings of their heart!

Okay, I'm done. Or maybe I'm not. If there can be Unfinished Symphonies, surely there can be Unfinished Posts.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Doomsday Prediction

At 10:30am on Sunday, November 18, 2012, I {me and myself included} predicted that the end of the world would take place within the next five hours. Step aside Mayans and FLDS soothsayers! By all appearances, I was right on the money, too!!

I looked back while walking out of my bedroom and concluded if it didn't look like Ground Zero would look like, it certainly was a crime investigator's nightmare. Hell, it was even my nightmare! When {if} I survived and returned to reclaim this little spot I call home, my first response would be that someone had looted the place in my absence. But then I would remember...

It's the Primary Program today. That means, not only are the last twelve months of songs and practicing {or lack of practicing} crammed into the next few hours but I need to figure out what I'm going to wear.

I'll be sitting at the piano bench at the front of the chapel the whole time. I need to find something in my closet {or combine stuff from drawers and closet} that will:

  • hide the sagging parts

  • hold in the bulging parts

  • keep firm the waving parts

Hair also needs to look somewhat decent {I got halfway through straightening it before realizing my curling iron had turned off. Evidently it is only programmed to shut off after a certain amount of time. It doesn't register if it's being used or not}. Makeup needs to be applied {where are my granddaughters when I need them?} Socks need to match - as well as shoes.

I would take a picture of my room but it would be too embarrassing. Drawers were flung open. Clothes strewn from the bed to the floor to the bathroom. I thought about sending pictures to my girls of my wardrobe choices to get their opinions but don't know how they take self portrait pictures. I snoozed my "Get Dressed" alarm until I could snooze it no longer and was forced to put in my ears {and my earrings}, put on my eyes and find my rings and leave wearing the last thing I tried on

Fast forward three hours and I am forced to recant my prediction. The world did not end. Come out of your bunkers. Stop eating your MRE's. And put away your bucket toilet. Sigh.

The program went amazingly well, leaving the spirit with everyone in attendance.

My room, however, still looks like Ground Zero.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Can We Take a Bag Home With Us?"

It ended  up being a spontaneous weekend of family fun. Joe called a little earlier in the week, thinking he could get away and I jumped on the opportunity to have family time. The weather was awesome, too, so that made it even more enjoyable. Since Joe and Mandy have a yard that is still in the beginning stages, the leaves were a playground that captivated the majority of the kids for the better part of the afternoon/evening.

 Grampa had started cleaning up the leaves in the front yard. Fortunately he left the ones in the backyard. It didn't take long for the kids to start attacking them. They worked hard to make a big pile just to be able to scatter it a few minutes later.

Carter was at his dad's but other than him all the grandkids were in the leaves at one point or another. Of course, being the cool Grandma that I am, I had to teach Aspen and Reagan how to throw the leaves at each other. Once taught, however, they took to it with great enthusiasm.

Come Sunday morning, Brian asked if we could please let the leaves stay out there so they could play in them the next time they came. I explained that it probably wouldn't work that way - Grampa would want them cleaned up before it snowed. I jokingly offered to let him take a garbage bag full of them home. That was a mistake. Everyone's ears perked up as their eyes got wide and they grinned big and all of them were eager to accept my offer. Parents, however, kaboshed the idea.

Tyler obviously got a leaf or two in an uncomfortable spot as I couldn't get him to smile for nothing.