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.

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