Squirl's Nest

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I don't play by ear, I have to use my hands

I wasn’t sure what I was going to blog about until I decided to read PaintingChef’s site. She has a really funny post about piano lessons. Go read it, you’ll enjoy it.

My mother is a very good pianist. She also can play the pipe organ. Okay, you guys, remember I’m talking about my mother here! She was the head organist (I’m warning you) at the church we attended when we lived in Kentucky. She also gave piano lessons when she was first married.

Of course, she expected us to learn to play piano. I do thank her for this. All kids should take some kind of music lessons. You might have gathered from Bucky’s stories that our mother was not too strict on us by that day’s standards. She figured we’d never practice for her the way we would for a nun.

The Catholic school we went to had very inexpensive piano lessons for the students who were also members of the church. That made sense with the big Catholic families. The nuns didn’t need to do much more than cover the music supplies.

I started taking my piano lessons from Sr. Marguerite when I was in third grade. She was strict but she wasn’t a knuckle-beater. My mother had already taught me the treble and bass clefs so I had a bit of a head start. What I had to learn really wasn’t that difficult and I only ended up taking lessons for three years. That was when we moved to Michigan and there were no inexpensive teachers around.

It was kind of nice, to not have to practice anymore. But there was one thing I regretted. In sixth grade was when you learned to play the pipe organ. Learning would have been fun, but it also meant being conscripted into playing early morning Mass during the week.
I still read music and have fun playing. I’m not that good, I just have fun with it. I can’t play by ear and I’m not anywhere near the level of Bucky’s playing. But I’m not going to stop playing until my hands won’t let me anymore.


Blogger Kitty said...

I think you need a pipe organ for those nights your neighbors don't want to behave!

Wed Jun 01, 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Kitty said...

I could sing along and kill all those bastards!

Wed Jun 01, 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Squirl said...

Kitty, those neighbors were outside and making noise until after 3:30 this morning. I seriously thought about calling the cops but I'm not sure if they'd even do anything. The weather is nice and those folks, obviously, work a different shift from mine. And your singing couldn't kill anybody. :-)

Wed Jun 01, 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Spurious Plum said...

I hate reading music, and always have, but if you play something once or twice, I've pretty much got it. Pipe organ though, that's a different kettle of fish!

Yay for your Mom being a music pusher!

Wed Jun 01, 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger LadyBug said...

I always wished I'd learned how to play the piano. There's just not that much call for clarinet players these days.

Wed Jun 01, 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger SierraBella said...

Music lessons are a must!
I was given ballet lessons...
Haven't been to a party yet where everybody wanted to gather around the piano and do arabesques.

Wed Jun 01, 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Effie said...

I once saw Victor Borge play the piano with his nose....I have my very own tambourine which I can make a lot of noise with--I really want to learn to play guitar--that seems to be the instrument of choice in my family! My brother plays guitar, mandolin, trombone, baritone and pretty much anything he tries. Two of my sisters also play guitar, and we have a flautist, 2 trumpeters (me included) and an oboeist, all of us are singers. Only one of us has tried the piano though...

Wed Jun 01, 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Squirl said...

Plum, I wish I could play better by ear. I try to pick things out by sound but I never get the coolest sounding chords. Or if I do I forget what they were. Yes, music is good. Should be more music-pushers.

Ladybug, most of us learned two instruments when we were kids. Mine were piano and string bass. Neither one is easily portable like a clarinet.

Sierrabella, I so wanted ballet lessons as a child. They even bought me a pink tutu with silver sequins. (If that doesn't bring Bucky in, nothing will) I am glad I took piano, though. I also have a couple of harmonicas, an acoustic guitar, electric guitar and an electric bass. Never seem to have the time to put into them. My voice is really my best instrument and the most portable of all.

Effie, first, you know who Victor Borge was!! You don't hear his name much anymore, but he was a decent pianist and one heck of a comedian. Your whole family sounds very artistically talented. Bucky and Tardist are both very good musicians, but our oldest brother had the knack for picking up any instrument and being able to make music with it. He also wrote music and sang. It's fun to come from a musical family.

Wed Jun 01, 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Kitty said...

I don't think anyone will forget when I was learnign the guitar (those that lived around me that is). I was so proud when I learned the chords A, B, C, then the infamous D.

A, chugga chugga, B, chugga chugga, C, chugga chugga, D - DIIIIIEEEEEEE!

I'm such a rock star

Wed Jun 01, 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Okay, yes, the tutu did draw me in. Huh huh, tutu.

But I have to say, I can sing alright, but my piano/guitar playin' sucks one big fine donkey dick. I decipher more than I read music, can sound stuff out if it's not too complicated, but I sure as hell wouldn't try to make a livin' at it.

So how come I never got a tutu?

Wed Jun 01, 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Hey, did you really post this last night (May 31)? Or is the time stamp just off? I could swear I looked today...

Maybe I got cache issues?

Wed Jun 01, 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

I always wanted to learn an instrument too. Growing up I lived in an apartment and noise was an issue. Good for you for keeping it up.

Thu Jun 02, 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger Squirl said...

Kitty, you just keep chugga-ing along and a rock star you will be.

Bucky, you never asked for a tutu, knight's suits were harder to come by. Yes, I did post this on Tuesday. Musta been cache issues. I hate it when that happens.

Kranki, it's never too late to learn an instrument. I don't know how much concentrating you feel like doing right now, but maybe some day.

Thu Jun 02, 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Effie said...

Your family sounds like it would be a lot of fun at a picnic or campfire in the summer--sitting around with a couple of guitars singing all the good ones with a bit of familial harmony going on--that's how ours is...we are rarely all together though; we're spread across the country from Edmonton to Halifax (oh yeah, my country is Canada)

Thu Jun 02, 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Effie - the only flaw in your scenario there is the campfire. We were definitely not a campin' family. I never camped until I was 34 or so (for the record, I loved it and continue to camp).

Does anybody in the family besides me like to camp, Squirl? I honestly don't know!

Fri Jun 03, 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

And just how many times can I use the word "camp" in one post?

Camp it up
Camp it up
Buddy, gonna shut you down

This moment of retardation brought to you courtesy of Friday Afternoon.

Fri Jun 03, 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger greatwhitebear said...

someday i'll blog about the embarrassment of accordian lessons

Fri Jun 03, 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Squirl said...

Yes, Effie, Bucky's right. There was never a campfire for that group. But we did, on occasion, get together and play and sing harmony.

Bucky, thanks for pitching in there.

GreatWhite, we need to hear the accordian story. Yes!

Fri Jun 03, 07:23:00 PM  
Anonymous song said...

I had music lessons for 5 years and it still takes me about 10 hours to learn the simplest piece of music by writing
I play by ear. BUt I never learnt the pipe organ either. Or the saxophone for that matter....

Sat Jun 04, 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Squirl said...

Song, saxophone was one of my older brother's first instruments. I'm happy with what I can do. I'll take it. :-)

Sat Jun 04, 05:46:00 PM  

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