Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Music Lesson

I was in the corner of a music room at school a couple of weeks ago listening to my youngest son Evan practice the piano. Evan has been playing the piano for about two years and he enjoys it. On this day, his instructor had him play a song that he had learned last week and then this week, she was going to have him practice a new song, "When the Saints Go Marching In."

I was in my chair listening to Evan begin playing the tune and as he became more familiar with the it, I could discern what he was actually playing and I experienced the most intense flashback/memory I've ever had, it was weird! For those of you who have seen the animated movie, Ratatouille, the experience reminded me of the food critic at the end of the movie who was transported back to his childhood the second he ate the ratatouille that was served him. As I was hearing the notes of the song, I was no longer in a music practice room in Bangkok, Thailand, I was transported back to my bedroom during the summer of 1982, as an 11 yr. old boy in New Castle, Delaware.

The house where I lived in Delaware.
There I was, waling away on a trombone trying my best to learn, "When the Saints Go Marching In (And not very well)" on a summer's night, make that multiple summer nights, with my bedroom window open. My bedroom overlooked our backyard which backed up to a cornfield and I'm sure my neighbors thought some poor animal was being harmed in my room from the sounds that were emanating from my horn. I used to play trumpet and trombone as a kid and this particular summer, I was taking summer trombone lessons a few days a week at Newark (Delaware) High School. As a kid, I couldn't think of a worst way to spend my summer. It's not that I disliked the music lessons or my teacher, it was the summer, I had better things to do with my time. For example, like sleeping in, watching tv, hangin' out with my friends, hangin' with my friends, hangin'........ I remember trying to learn that piece of music and it was difficult for me, but I persevered. I would go to my room and practice as friend after friend would stop by to see if I could play outside. I needed to practice and I did. My teacher was supportive and I remember the day when I finally played the piece well. My teacher gave me a big smile and words of praise and my mom gave me a big smile and took me to Dairy Queen. With that moment, I experienced a great sense of accomplishment and it was a good example of what hard work and stick-to-it-ness can do.

As Evan was concluding the song and the lesson was coming to a close, I came back to my present day body and had the following sentiments:

-I dig the fact that my children love listening to and performing music, so much so that the boys recently asked Eleanor and I if we could purchase a piano for our home.
-Our children are already better musicians than I was from the manner in which they read music and how quickly they learn to play songs.
-I hope that music in some way shape or form is a constant in their lives. It has provided me with many great moments and memories. Although, I am sorry that I didn't continue playing an instrument, kinda ironic considering how much I love music and how it's such a part of my life.


Jennifer L Melton said...

Way to go Evan!

Dick said...

So glad the boys are learning to enjoy music. Music has been important in my life too! Our tastes in music may be different, but our love for music is just as strong.