Saturday, August 27, 2011

And the music played on....

I've always been in love with music.  Grandma Smith said that we were descendants of Bach.  That must explain it.  I've heard that "music has charms that soothe a savage beast" but it's more powerful than that.  I've seen it calm a baby, excite a crowd, help people fall in love, bring back memories for others, help us say goodbye to loved ones and usher the presence of God into a worship service.  I've experienced it's power many times.  It's helped clear my head and concentrate while studying or writing papers in school.  For those of us who have a hard time dealing with or showing emotion, it's the perfect outlet for all those feelings we bottle up inside.

It was on a child's organ that I figured out I could pick out melodies of songs, particularly commercials, on it.  My first "song","I'd like to teach the world to sing", was from the old Coca Cola commercial I heard all the time on TV.

Playing the piano at Grandma Smith's
Eventually Mom bought me an old player piano that had the player taken out.  I started piano lessons when I was in 4th or 5th grade.  I hated them.  I wanted to play music not learn dots on a page.  My mom had to set the oven timer to make sure I practiced.  Before my lessons, I had to wait on the girl before me.  She got to play the theme song from Young & the Restless and I was entranced.  THAT'S what I wanted to play.  Not this Twinkle Twinkle mess.  My teacher told me I couldn't because I was a beginner.  (Never tell a Tolbert they can't do something.)  "Ha! I'll show you!"  I got my old tape recorder and recorded the theme song off the TV and then I learned the melody.  When I had it memorized I played it as my warm up instead of what my teacher instructed me to play that day.  She wasn't happy but I didn't care.  I proved that this beginner could indeed play the forbidden song.  I believe it was then that she realized that teaching me to sight read was going to be harder than she thought.  Thankfully lessons with her only lasted 2 yrs.

Recital night in 4th or 5th grade
Piano was taught at the new Donnie Bickham Middle School (Yeah I know. I'm showing my age.) but I had a bad taste in my mouth from the last experience so I didn't take it.  Thankfully I changed my mind and took it for 2 yrs.  Mrs. Nelson was able to make me love playing the piano again.  Mom didn't have to set the oven timer anymore.  I even actually won awards at piano competitions.  That piano was a godsend.  My family was going through some tough times and I bottled up all my emotions.  The only way I could let them out was by "banging" on the piano.  Mom could tell my mood by what I would play or attempt to play.  I didn't have to see a shrink to get it out.  I just needed to play.  I had to leave it behind when my parents divorced and we moved to my grandparent's farm.  I tried lessons down there but it wasn't the same.  The piano playing bug had died...or so I thought.

Two weeks ago I went with Tate to Shreveport Music to pick up a wind screen for a church microphone.  While waiting on him, I sat on a drum set stool and listened to a couple talk to the piano guy about electronic pianos.  I began regretting that I gave up playing the piano.  An hour and a half later,  I have talked with the piano guy, gotten a history lesson on pianos, purchased a self teaching piano course book for adults and now know what I want for a graduation present.  The piano playing bug hadn't died.  It was just hibernating.

My new toy
Now it's time to teach the next generation the power of music.

Introducing Peyton to the piano

And the music played on...

Playing a tune for Aunt Heather

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