Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Piano


I can't play the piano. I played the cello for several years, but let's face it, I've pretty much forgotten how to play that too. But just about every day, our house is infused with piano music, thanks to my eldest daughter. She took lessons for six years, and during that time we had the usual struggle -- me reminding her to practice, her resisting. She grumbled and complained and came close to quitting several times, but somehow she stuck with it. When we moved about three-and-a-half years ago, we couldn't find a new piano teacher right away, and we made a remarkable discovery.

She was playing the piano every day, without reminders or sticker charts or anything. She was playing for her own pleasure. She started messing around with Broadway music, struggling with the sight-reading, tapping out melodies with her right hand, working away for an hour at a time. But this was a different kind of struggle. This struggle was pure joy.

I stopped trying to find a piano teacher. I let her be her own piano teacher. She has excelled.

When she has a bad day at school, or she's stressed about a paper or test, she goes straight for the piano. She plays, sometimes she sings along, and you can hear the stress leaking out of her fingertips. What a gift. What a precious, precious gift.

The other day I was trying to make dinner after a long day with the little ones, and it was one of those pre-dinner witching hours when every single one of us was grumpy and ready to snap. The teenager surveyed the scene, and went straight to the piano. With the first notes, I grumbled in my mind, just what I need, more noise! But after only a few moments, I noticed that the little ones had quieted, pulled by some gravitational force towards the living room, listening. And I noticed my tension start to slip away, lulled by the sweet music, reminded once again just how very blessed I am.

What a precious, precious gift.

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge, courtesy of SteadyMom.


  1. Yes-I so know just what you mean! I have a sister that does this every time she is stressed!

    Music can have such a calming influence!!!

  2. This is lovely. I just finished reading THE RIGHTS OF THE READER that stresses a simliar idea about reading and children: let them explore and enjoy!

  3. How cool for her, and all of you. I remember being tasked with practicing in high school and how much I often dreaded it. When I needed it, though, music was an awesome tool for helping me cope with whatever was going on at the time.

  4. I know what you are saying!!! My son has been trumpeting for three years and I realized that the other day the whole house had stopped to listen to him practice because it really is lovely!!! I can't wait for the rest of my potential orchestra to get going!!!

  5. We discovered the same thing with our 10 year old. She was the worst about practicing so I let her drop piano and switch to sax.

    Now she plays the piano all the time- choosing to work through an older sister's music that is much harder than what she had been doing.

  6. Oh my! I took a triple take - this image looks like it could've been taken out of my own mother's house. I swear that's the exact same model of piano... and I was the one teaching myself to play. Thank you for taking me back to those years!

  7. Our oldest son, just turned 16, turns to his keyboard to release as well. He has taught himself amazingly well and I am also so thankful that he has it.
    Glad to have found your blog.
    Warm wishes,

  8. wow that sounds so lovely to have a stream of live music. and what a great release for your daughter that is a true gift.

  9. Music truly is a gift, isn't it? But of course, so is the pianist herself. :) I cannot imagine what this house will be like when she goes off to college -- but we won't think about that now!