A Delicate Little Flower
Now the last thing The-Oldest would want me comparing him to is a delicate flower, but that’s how I feel about his latest and most amazing endeavour. Learning to play the piano.
First of all, much to my horror, like most kids, the more you try to push him into something, the more he resists. As evidence, I point to jujitsu. To his credit, he stuck with it to the end of the session and tried his hardest while there, but he wanted to do it about as much as I would want to take dancing lessons (which, FYI, I’ll have to do for the wedding since I dance like a elephant with its feet in cement.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, pushing kids.
In my dream world before kids, I thought, hey, if you’re just encouraging enough, positive enough, made it seem like fun, kids would want to do it. Simply put, they’d want to do it cuz I said so.
Seems me saying it’s cool or fun does not, in any way, make it cool or fun.
So, when The-Oldest became interested in the piano, we had to tread carefully. Like keeping a delicate plant alive, we had to water it just enough to keep it alive and not too much so it would die and wither and exude a sulfurous stench.
We had to be interested, but not overly interested. We had to be excited, but not too excited (like new Avengers movie excited, not new Star Wars movie excited.) We had to be there to help him and not there to show him how to do it.
The last part would be the hardest to balance. Not that I play the piano in any way, shape or form. I would be better off simply banging my forehead on the keyboard for all the talent I have, but The-prettiest-girl-in-the-world has some skill and has done her best to guide him and show him proper fingering.
It’s not easy, especially since (if I continue with the plant metaphor), we have pretty much killed every plant in our house. So, yeah, we have to be REALLY careful here.
But so far he’s continued to be interested and he’s done remarkably well. Better than well.
His fingers are blazingly fast. He can pound out the first part of the moonlight sonata like a pro. He’s learning to play funeral dirges cuz, you know, he’s a teenager. He plays the cello suite #1 with feeling and rhythm.
And he seems to love learning to play!
He comes home from school, does his homework and then sits in front of the piano. Not in front of a TV. Not in front of a computer screen or his phone. In front of the piano.
How cool is that?
I can’t tell you how impressed I am at his commitment. At his skill. At his natural talent.
But now we have to find a way to get him lessons. Without them, he’ll never really be able to play. His fingering will be so off that he wouldn’t be able to use both hands. He won’t be able to progress farther in many of the concertos he wants to play.
I know he knows there’s a limit he can do without assistance. But it’s like me knowing I shouldn’t eat a whole bag of yummy caramilk chocolates – knowing is not everything. Knowing does not overcome fear or a deep love of chocolate.
So how do we shift him towards that? How do we add more fertilizer so he will continue to grow? How can we make him a part of this decision-making process? How do we do that without him hating the piano?
To be continued.
In the meantime, Moonlight Sonata.