Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Twinkling the Ivories

It's recital season. And not just for Kathryn, but for me too. Some of you know that I started taking piano lessons a year and a half ago - for the first time ever. Last night was our Spring Piano Recital. Taking piano lessons as an adult is hard. Really hard. Our brains don't function the same way as they did when we were younger. It's much more difficult to for us to take in and process new information such as piano and foreign languages. And face it, as an adult and parent, whenever I sit down to practice or go to my lesson, I can think of 50 things I either should or could be doing with that time. I really have to tell myself that this is a valuable use of my time. But I have my inspirations.

This is Katy. She is also an adult student at our studio. She performed at Kathryn's first recital. While the other adults in attendance cringed as she played, I was inspired to ask her about her experience and if she thought taking piano lesson was fun. She said all the right things. Among them, the opportunity to take lessons with her teenage sons.

My piano teacher is Ms. Laura. She is wonderful. She holds me accountable but still understands that occasionally I have grown-up issues that interfere with piano. She also understand that I am both a student and a parent of a student and that is a unique position as well. Ms. Laura knows that I am a knitter and wherever possible will help me approach learning piano as I might in tackling a new or difficult knitting challenge. I have a tendency to look at the whole thing and want to dive right in and do it all at once - in piano and knitting. She's made me a better knitter through this as well. "Slow down and just read through the piece with your hands at your side. Look at the key signature. Do you have all the information you need to play this piece? Are their measures that are repeated? Is their something in the piece you don't understand or will need to practice?" This is what I hear now when I pick up a knitting pattern for the first time. Ms. Laura encouraged me to bring my knitting to the recital last night so I would have something to keep my nerves calm before I played. It worked! I was amazed. The only hard part was putting it down every 20 seconds or so to applaud wildly for the many young kids since most of the studio is comprised of grade school children. I'm their biggest fan!!

So, I made a few mistakes last night, but you'd only have heard them if you know the piece, Largo (from No. 5, "From the New World) by Antonin Dvorak. But all in all, I was quite proud. Kathryn sailed through hers - of course - she's a kid! She wasn't worried about what's for dinner or how to get both animals to the vet today for their annual check-ups!

Me and some of my peeps
Kathryn, my nieces Emily and Elizabeth (also students) Ms. Laura, some strange grandpa