(Strike a Chord
Do you play an instrument? Is there a musical instrument whose sound you find particularly pleasing? Tell us a story about your experience or relationship with an instrument of your choice.)
This just couldn’t be a happier topic for me! Life without music would be a grey and dreary thing indeed.
The very first clear memory I have of music I loved is listening to my mom and dad’s 78’s and 45’s. The Blackwood Brothers, George Beverly Shea, and many others. Rudy Atwood at the piano.
Later, we graduated to 33’s, and that’s when I remember the classical (Tchaikowsky, Prelude in B Flat Minor; Swan Lake Ballet), the western (Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Cool, Clear Water) and too many vocal groups to mention.
Then I remember the church music, and the wonderful pianists who played for camp meetings and evangelistic meetings. I was fascinated. We had an old upright piano for a while, and I remember looking at the keys with great longing, wishing I knew what to do with them. I did plink out some melodies, but I wanted my hands to fly across the keyboard!
Mom took piano lessons for about a year while Dad was in Bible college. She kept the books. When I was ten, we moved to Oregon and, lo and behold, we got another piano! A little spinet, and I can’t remember where it came from, but I was beyond excited. By this time I had a little better handle on singing, harmony, and reading notes. I got hold of Mom’s old piano books and began to teach myself to play. I was in heaven.
It was a long time before I got to actually take lessons, but I tried to copy what I heard other pianists doing. I remember the first time Dad
asked told me I was playing for church. I think I was twelve. I was terrified, and I’m sure it was dreadful, but it forced me to practice playing hymns.
When I was 15, we moved back to Minnesota. There was an elderly lady in the small town who had taught piano for years, and she offered to give me lessons for free. Be still my beating heart! She introduced me to music I had never tried, taught me some finer points I wouldn’t have learned on my own, and mostly just encouraged me.
Well, I wasn’t good enough to major in applied keyboard in college, and that was a disappointment. I’ve often wondered, if I’d had lessons right from the beginning instead of muddling through on my own, would that have made a difference? I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter now. I’ve played for church for many years, played for my own pleasure as well. I don’t play much any more, in public, and that’s okay too. My fingers aren’t as supple as they used to be, but I still love to play my piano.
When Terry was just a little guy, his parents bought a pretty little piano, a Starck-ette. It’s probably 67 years old, maybe a little more. His mom’s dreams of his becoming a pianist never came true, and after we were married, his parents gave us the piano, knowing how much I would love having it. It still sits in my dining room, and still sounds good. We just had it tuned at Christmas. This isn’t exactly the same, but it’s close.