When I was a kid, my mom used to play the piano a lot. In fact, she took piano lessons with my teacher and had the lesson right after me. I remember her playing the Moonlight Sonata while my sister and I would dance to the beautiful music. It’s still one of my favorite pieces. But, over the years, mom stopped playing. In fact, when she sold her house, I inherited her piano.
Last week she decided she wanted to play again. “I need a keyboard.” She announced. A piano was too much of a commitment for her…even though they are very easy to come by nowadays. She couldn’t imagine having such a large piece of furniture somewhere, so she thought a keyboard would suffice. And she also decided that she wanted one with “all the sounds” 😂… a synthesizer, mom.
Sure enough, I found one quickly (thank you Facebook Marketplace!) When I picked it up the young woman, Kelly, explained that she had bought it a few years ago and it was way harder than she expected. She handed me some piano books while she explained how difficult it had been to play with two hands. “I just don’t have the time to learn this.”
Now, while I was happy she was giving up the keyboard for my mom, I couldn’t help but feel like she was missing out on something. I watch my five year old sit at my piano and make up pretty awesome songs. She just plays…and has a great time. She doesn’t know enough (or care enough) about right or wrong. It’s music — she just plays what sounds right and what feels good. Also, the piano doesn’t know (or care) if you are playing Beethoven or figuring out a cool new tune that pops into your head. Musicians are NOT binary…there is no “can” and “cannot.” EVERYONE has music inside of them. And lifelong learning is about discovery…and everyone is also certainly capable of that.
I thought of this as an unusual case of lost and found. Kelly lost her music and mom seemed to have found it again. …and what does that mean for me as a music teacher….? Not sure yet…What do you think?