Wednesday, May 4, 2011

listen to Me!

We've made it.  We've made it through "You have to practice for fifteen minutes" and "Your teacher made this rule, not me, so don't be angry at me" and "Let's pretend that (the small bust of) Beethoven is racing across the piano and every time you play a line he runs five more notes!" and we are now at "Listen to THIS!"

I'd been told that it took a year.  Bug started piano young; he was barely five when he began, based on his own interest. He loved it and practiced with my help every day, playing his homework and then doodling for longer.  A year later his teacher gently kicked me out of lessons, saying he could handle it on his own.  Also a year later- just this fall- Pook decided to start lessons too.  He started just as school began and he was picking up the saxophone for the first time in school band.

Throughout fall Pook played his homework as required.  He'd doodle a bit, messing around with chords, but usually did the listed pieces for the listed number of times and then stopped.  Bug would whine, fuss, play one piece through and try to quit.  I would cajole, tease, make games of it, argue and threaten.  Grudgingly he'd play a bit more, but his doodling stopped for the most part too. Seriously bogged down.

I'm not sure if it was age, competing with his brother suddenly, or just the time, but it was a tough fall and winter with Bug.  His teacher dialed back, made sure Pook was assigned pieces that Bug had never played so it would be harder to compare themselves, and lowered her expectations.  We plodded on.

This spring, instead of lowered expectations, she gave him a piece of music from a book which her older kids usually use. He is enthralled by Chinese Dragon Festival by Dennis Alexander.  All on the black keys.  A piece For Big Kids.  Then  another-- Intrada in C Major by Graupner-- which he was "allowed" to play the first measures, but that was all.  He dared to go further to surprise her, giggling that she'd be so amazed when she heard him.

And she was. And I am too.  This is the back of Bug's head as he practices Chinese Dragon Festival .  He played the two pieces in his recital over the weekend.   


  1. It sounds like you have a terrific teacher. Great performance, Bug!

  2. Jill - That is really something! He plays so well, and without the music - a great accomplishment. I am so proud of my grandkids and their music ability. Check out Facebook for Steven's music.

  3. Wonderful!! I am very impressed!