A Birthday and a Piano Lesson
August 8, 2009
Yesterday, we went into town to visit the Barely Extended Family, celebrating my daughter’s birthday, and celebrating Random Granddaughter because we always celebrate her.
I am filled with appreciation. Marrying my wife was like winning the lottery. My daughter being born was like winning the lottery twice. RG–well, I don’t want her to get a swelled head, so if she asks you, tell her the lottery committee is still evaluating her ticket to see if it is genuine.
We not only congratulated my daughter on having a birthday (something just about anyone can do), we also congratulated her on leaving her old job and getting accepted into graduate school. As I mentioned a while back, she was rejected on her first application (for not being a math major), so she completed two years of calculus by distance learning and was accepted on a second application with great enthusiasm.
As I mentioned recently, RG has cast aside her career as an artist, not to mention her earlier careers as a fire chief, railroad engineer, and ferry captain, and has embarked on a career as a concert pianist. Yesterday, she went for her second piano lesson. The teacher lives about five blocks away, so my wife and I walked over with Random Daughter to pick her up.
As we walked up the driveway, through a window we saw RG banging away on a piano with great enthusiasm. Although I could not hear anything through the window, I was impressed with her body language and stage presence. If I had a video to show you, you would agree that RG is now ready for an appearance at Carnegie Hall.
As we stood outside, waiting for the rehearsal to finish, a black and white cat walked up the driveway. The cat looked just like Sylvie, the mommies’ wonderful extroverted cat. The cat is half as big again as Sylvie and is male, and clearly an introvert (like most cats), though he cautiously sniffed my hand. At that moment, the piano teacher’s husband walked up the driveway and greeted us in a friendly way with a British accent.
The piano teacher and RG came out to greet us as well. The piano teacher told us that RG is having a good time and displaying talent as well. Obviously, the piano teacher has a lot of experience in talking to grandparents.
My wife had asked me a question about children’s piano lessons, so I asked the expert. (My wife is too cautious and shy to ask such questions, but now that I am in my 60s, I will ask almost any question to almost anybody.
“When you teach piano to a small child, are the pieces specially adapted for the reach of a small hand?”
“We start with the five basic keys,” she said. “However, you would be amazed at how flexible little hands are, and soon they are reaching for other keys.”
She went on with other good news. “She has learned two songs. Today, she learned ‘Wendy the Whale.’ After she practiced her two pieces, she finished with some improvisation.”
Of course. As soon as she actually appears on stage at Carnegie Hall, the audience will surely want to hear some improvisation besides impeccable performance of old chestnuts of the standard repertoire such as ‘Wendy the Whale.’