Many, many, many years ago, when I was but a wee child, I took piano lessons. I quit begged to quit after the second summer. Not because I disliked the piano. No, I loved playing. It was the teacher I hated.
Years later, when I was in high school, I decided to try again. Sure, I’d been playing all along and improving but it was a slow process on my own. The second set of lessons didn’t last as long. That teacher thought I should play better than I did. After all, my dad was a talented local pianist all his life and that woman remembered going to dances he performed at when she was in school so in her opinion I should be just as capable at the age I was. Um, no. I had some natural ability but it hadn’t been nurtured and perfected as his had been. It was awful and she actually told me how disappointed she was. Why, I’ll never understand because if I could have played like my dad there would have been no need for lessons.
Oh, in case you’re wondering, no, my dad never attempted to teach me. That would have been a huge disaster from both sides. My dad was the most patient man in the world when it came to other people’s kids. Well, either that or he faked it well. When it came to me and things like that it was an entirely different story. And on my part, I would have been a very difficult student for him as I had moments when I was resistant and outspoken. I know. Hard to imagine but that’s how I was.
Last year, I inherited a player piano. I’d been plunking around on it ever since, sporadically. Going to see Barry Manilow last week inspired me. I do know I don’t stand a chance of ever sounding like he does since the man is one hell of a talented musician but I decided I might just manage to play well enough for songs to be recognizable.
Off to surf Amazon I went and yes indeed, a modified collection of his well known songs exists. The best part? They are simplified enough that with a little practice even I will be able to play them fairly decently. I sing along too. Hey, I had voice lessons for a time as well, something I rarely admit, and I’m not nearly as bad as you’d expect. I just don’t sing in public. That’s what ended those lessons. Anyway, I’d forgotten how much fun I have while playing and singing. So thank you, Mr. Manilow. For entertaining me last week and for helping me rediscover something I hadn’t realized was missing.