Max and Claire just started piano lessons. It's hard to convey how happy this makes me.
The lessons are a huge investment of both time and money. And in some ways it makes me feel like just another upper middle class mom over-scheduling her children.
And yet...I love that they're going to learn music. I love listening to them plinking the keys and singing along. In some ways, their taking piano makes me feel like I'm doing my job well. Like I am enriching their time on this earth. Which is important to me.
When I was growing up we had an upright piano brush-painted blue. I remember desperately wanting lessons and asking often. Had I actually gotten my wish, I'm sure I would've balked at the practice. But I never got the chance. Back then, I didn't realize how expensive piano lessons were and my parents, on a teacher's and nurse's salary probably weren't in a position to shell out the bucks necessary. I totally understand and don't begrudge them. When I was sixth grade, they rented me a trumpet and I sucked at it and didn't practice and generally decided I wasn't put on this planet to make music. Later, I picked up the guitar and worked at it for about six months before setting it aside for more fun things, like drinking with my friends.
My lack of musicality was disappointing to me. Especially because my dad, my sweet, sweet dad had a crazy awesome musical streak. He taught himself to play piano, guitar, and banjo. I also remember bongo drums, recorders and harmonicas around the house. He loved music and was pretty good, too.
He used to have a reel-to-reel tape recorder and these massive microphones on stands, into which, every Christmas eve, my sister and I would squeal, excited by Santa's imminent arrival, and sing carols and talk about school.
The reels never completely erased, so that if you taped over something, which we often did, you could still sort of hear whatever had originally been recorded. In the background of many of our Christmas Eve tapes, which still exist but which I can barely stand to listen to, you can faintly hear the hippy singing of my dad, mom, and several of my dad's high school students.
The reels have been transferred to cassettes. But the remnants of early 70s harmonizations remain behind my sister's and my youthful musings.
I don't know if Max and Claire will take to the piano. I don't know if they'll show any sort of musical inclination or if nagging them to practice will just become too much and we'll all collectively sigh and say, "Screw it."
But I want to try. I want to see what, when we give them the opportunity, comes of it.