Thursday, December 14, 2006

This is my 100th post. 100 memories from my life laid down the best I can, for anyone at all to read if they want to. I was wondering what to remember on this special occasion...something funny? Something sad or depressing? How about a little of both...


I remember practicing the piano....

Mom expected us all to take piano lessons. We weren't asked if we wanted to, we just had to. I hated practicing, especially my scales and triads and arpeggios. I knew they would help me play songs better, but they were so boring.

I can clearly remember one practice session. I was having trouble with my arpeggios, they just weren't coming out right. I was making the same mistake over and over again, and I was beginning to get very frustrated. I tried slowing it down to a crawl, but my fingers were still fumbling over the one area. I tried speeding it up to see if I could fly by the trouble spot...

By the 100th time of playing it wrong, I was in tears. I was angry! I was depressed!! I placed my fingers on the keys, took a deep breath, and tried again. WRONG! I slapped myself on the face, hard. "Stupid!!" I cursed myself. I tried again. WRONG!! I slapped myself again, harder. "Idiot!!" I even banged my head on the keys at one point, like a real-life version of Don Music from Sesame Street.

As you can guess, this attempt at humiliating my fingers into submission got me nowhere.

10 comments:

Shari E said...

Ouch.
I hated piano lessons too. They usually resulted in tears when I couldn't get something right, and I think one time I smashed my teeth into the wood above the keyboard.
I've barely touched the piano, or other instruments since.
Shari E

RadioSilence said...

Happy century blogpost mark Paula.

erin said...

wow, i can so relate...

I heart reading your blog Paula. I found it through clicking through links. I remember you and your daughter from my lifeguarding days at the Three Hills pool. Your blog is interesting and intriguing...and always a fantastic break from studying.

peace. e.

Spoke said...

The only instrument I've "played", was the violin in grade 6 and 7. The cello caught my eye, but my teacher made me stick to the bloody violin...not the fiddle! I bet I could play "The lion sleeps tonight" even now...but I'd need counseling after.
In 1977, I was in a new school for one year, a rough school. We had police at the doors, but even so, that didn't make it safer for me. I hated grade 8. I got hit often. One day I heard a piano echoing through the halls. I don't remember why I wasn't in some class, but I followed that sound which was filling the halls. In a room down the hall, was a girl, a piano and a vending machine with apples in it.
She was playing bits of Fool's Overture by Supertramp. I felt peaceful, safe, me and her.
Looking back, that was the best part of Sir Fredrick Banting school. One day, one moment. I never found out who she was. I never spoke to her. I never saw her again even though I checked that room daily. I bet I could have married her in that moment. Funny.
I wish I could play the piano!

Kim said...

The piano brings good memories for me, but that's just because my mom is a certified concert pianist. I remember going to bed at night in the comforting sound of my mom playing this or that hymn. The two instruments that always make me feel like I'm home are the piano and the guitar....I could lay wrapped in the notes when they are being played.

erin said...

i want to elaboarate on my "i so relate" comment. I relate to the frustration and the pain of lessons. And of the pressures of playing the piano. I had a near melt-down in the lead up to my Grade 9 exam. But oddly enough, since then the piano has become a sort of symbol of peace, of healing, and of restoration. When the world erupts into chaos around me, my fingers itch to play. I can't wait until I live in one place long enough to move the piano from my parents place into my own home.

KimberleyJ said...

I would have done anything to have piano lessons. And because I love studying music I have a hard time risking the push to practice, 'cause maybe they'll hate it. Sigh. I do push, though, as much as I can, and purpose instead to play with them to encourage the sociability of it all. I just don't understand not wanting to play. And I'm glad for you not quitting. Did you ever get the drills down pat? Hope so. I'm working on the same thing on fiddle and it's really hard - my fingers just won't go to the right spot every time!

Belladonna said...

I took lessons once in my twenties and once in my thirties - gave up in frustration and overwhelm at my incompetence each time. The problem with things like playing the piano or any other instrument is that unless you are some wild prodigy you have to be able to tolerate sucking at it long enough to get passable ok at it and then only after much practice do you make your way to sweet. I could never stand being bad long enough to give myself room to grow to good.

canadiangirl said...

I remember hating piano lessons in Grade 2, even though my auntie taught me (or tried to)... Might be able to play "Jingle Bells" now if I'm very slow and forgiving of myself... sheesh. Am now working thru guitar, am finding that a lot more enjoyable!

Happy 100 posts!

Patrushka said...

I never got to take lessons; my mom didn't want to inflict the pain on me that she experienced as a child. Her piano teacher whacked her hands with a ruler every time she made a mistake - funny way to try to get a kid to love music! Our kids took Suzuki violin lessons and received encouragement from their teachers, which had much better results, even though they still had to go through the frustrations of practicing. One became a musician and loves to play.
I'm glad you stuck with it, Paula!