Monday, May 21, 2007

Revealing Musical "Secrets"

I've been keeping some "secrets" from you. OK, they aren't really secrets, it's just that I've wanted to write about this for months now and just didn't for some reason. (The main reason is that I actually have just too much to write about and I haven't been able to keep up with all those subjects.)

So... did you know I am now a piano teacher?

Oh, you didn't even know that I played the piano?

Well, now you do. I also play the flute, but I hadn't picked it up in years, but did that today. Why? Because this girl asked me to play the piano at her wedding and I thought I might as well play the flute too (with a CD accompaniment that my mom brought from Brazil - just piano, not those fancy orchestra ones). I guess I'm going all out. Well, I play the flute at weddings in Brazil several times, but I never played the piano, that's a really big deal for me.

I guess the reason I haven't written about this earlier is just that I'm not talented at all -- trust me on that! I love music, but if I were to accomplish anything it would just have taken an impossible amount of effort because I don't have a "gift" for it (and I'm terribly lazy, so the effort is out of question). I do have an education, though. You have no idea how many years I studied piano -- that is, went to piano classes since I always hated to practice and hardly ever did. I studied for SEVENTEEN looong years. From 6 years old to 23, when I finally managed to do my final "concert" to get a high school level diploma in music after 6 years instead of the customary 3. I only finished that because of my mom, and my poor piano teacher of 10 years kept pushing me. My mom, particularly, didn't want me to give up. She had a "dream" for me -- that I could be a piano teacher after I had babies. She envisioned the baby sleeping peacefully in a Moses basket by the piano while I was teaching (more on that later).

Well, I got the "degree," but in Brazil I never played the piano for anything or anyone. Everybody else was just SO much better than I was!! You have no idea of the level of proficiency and talent of many of my friends and other people in the community where I lived. Here in the U.S., though, I started playing in church and even singing a solo once in a while (I even played the piano while singing a few times, I really like that) because, as we say in Brazil, "in a land of blind people, a person with one eye is the king" (em terra de cego, quem tem um olho é rei).

I could have started teaching the piano years ago in Massachusetts, to a little girl from a family from church, but my self-confidence was a bit low and I ended up not doing it. My best friend here in the U.S. (the one who was pregnant at the same time I was and our two children were born within a month of each other -- she returned to Brazil 2 years ago) taught piano to many children, but she had already done so in Brazil for many years. It was interesting that from her experience I learned that it wasn't really possible to do it the way my mom had envisioned. My friend actually needed someone to look after her babies while she taught.

Anyway, when people found out that I played piano some of them kept asking me to teach piano to them (or their kids) piano, but I thought we were leaving this area this July. A couple of months ago I finally decided to give it a shot and I started teaching this bright 15 years old boy.

Now... if I had only studied piano with the methods that they have today!! I'm sure that it would have been much easier and that I'd play better today. I'm learning along with my student and I'm enjoying that. Of course teaching piano is a pretty boring thing to do, but it's certainly less boring than practicing piano, that I can tell!!

I have found that practicing when you have a purpose, though, is actually fun! Today I spent the whole afternoon practicing Mendelssohn's Wedding March and some other arrangements of pieces by Bach ("The Sheep May Safely Grace" and "Arioso") and then I decided to pick up my dusty flute. The look in my sons faces when I started playing was absolutely priceless! They wanted to try to play it immediately, but I told them to wait. Of course they couldn't get a sound out of it when I let them try. Then, I was practicing with the CD when my youngest came from upstairs with a little plastic dollar store saxophone and I burst out laughing and had to stop playing. It was just so cute!!

Both my sons are very musical and I'm really excited about that. I'm hoping that at least one of them will have real talent and I'm sure that both will be able to play several instruments and sing, with the proper coaching. I started teaching some piano to my oldest and when we move I want to enjoy them in music classes. I also want to take more piano students! At least there's something I can do before I can start working "for real"!

P.S. I promise to write about my "dangerous childhood" sometime, OK?


Aliki2006 said...

I'm so envious! I have ALWAYS wanted to learn to play the piano and I hope I still will, someday. Both my mother and brother play it very well but I never had lessons. I chose to play the violin for three years, then expressed indifference and my parents rushed and sold my violin! I wish they had waited because I did have a renewed interest a couple years later.

Congrats on the piano teaching gig!

Brikebrok said...

Haja música ! :-)

Keiko said...

just like me...

mas eu não quero mais alunos não, sempre chega um ponto onde não tem jeito e vc tem que obrigar o cidadão a estudar, e por mais que ele ame o instrumento...estudar é um saco. Aí vem a coisa do dom, ou vc tem e toca super bem sem precisar estudar (pergunte ao Ronnye, ao Marcelo...)ou não tem e estuda muito pra tocar bem, ou não estuda e toca pra sempre "half-mouth", como eu, )já que é pra traduzir as expressões :-)) mas o suficiente pra ser feliz!


cloudscome said...

I took piano as a child too but I begged so hard to get out of it they let me quit at about 9 years old. I refused to practice. My mother said I would always regret it and I do!

I want to get Buddy some music lessons but I have to figure out how to afford it. Yesterday he said he wants a violin for his birthday! I'd love to hear what you think about Suzuki verses traditional piano lessons.