As I grew up, we had an upright piano that was older, our piano was nothing special in the antique department, but it was part of the “family”. My older cousin played it whenever she came over our house and we would all kind of gather around and sing, kind of like you see on TV, in old time shows. For real. It was a family thing, it was nice and heartwarming. I remember it fondly. I would always vie for a seat next to her on the piano bench to watch her fingers fly, learn the songs by rote and sing along with her. It was “neat”.
In our first house, my real childhood house where I was born and raised until 9, it was in our living room, holding a place of honor. I could even hear the music through the adjoining wall to my bedroom, next to my bed. So needless to say, music was always a soothing part of my childhood, and I still love it.
When we moved to a new house the piano was relegated to the basement, but my cousin still played when she came to visit and I was still her happy audience of one. Being the youngest of the four children, I don’t know the history of the piano, but I do know my oldest brother was given lessons. I unfortunately, either be it money or ennui, was not. I don’t know if I was given the choice, and passed. Too bad, too young to think of the long term gain of such a good skill, oh well, water under the bridge.
But, today as I hear a next door child practicing her piano skills it makes me a little melancholy. It brings back the wonderful memories of my childhood with one of my favorite cousins, and the thought of what could have been . . .I would love to know how to play.
Fast forward to today, in the news piano sales are way down, old piano companies are closing their doors after centuries of being in business. Not enough people appreciate this skill and are not buying new expensive pianos to grace their homes anymore!
Awwww….What a shame…it’s too bad today people don’t realize it is a nice skill children can and maybe should learn as we used to think to foster discipline, concentration, dexterity and expression. Remember when parents used things to help culture their children. It’s really not a bad idea. I wish I had learned it. How about art classes for young people, hmm, I know I sound old fashioned, but I think some things are good. It might calm everybody down in this frenetic world…just sayin’.
I remember when my son played his violin in about 3rd grade, he was so serious about it, not necessarily good, but intent. It was the cutest thing. Perhaps, looking back, we should have fostered some kind of music in his life. When I have grandchildren, I will try to encourage some kind of interest in music, even if it is only peripheral. I think again, there is some sage advise in the adage of music soothes the savage beast!
So, is the day of the piano history, like so many other things because you can buy an electric keyboard that does so many more things, doesn’t take up so much room and is so much cheaper? Alas, because people have lost interest in the history of life, music, culture and some of the finer things of life….? You decide.
(c) Written by Evelyn Garone 11/2010