To My Piano Teacher: Thanks So Much, TTFN

Someone donated this piano to MMU. It's in the lobby of Busse Library. I practiced at it once and felt very conspicuous.

Someone donated this piano to MMU. It’s in the lobby of Busse Library. I practiced at it once and felt very conspicuous.

I had a piano lesson scheduled this afternoon, but it conflicted with a Scholarship Day event I wanted to attend.

I could have rescheduled. But my year of living on the keyboard is drawing to an end, and I’m afraid the stress of the last few weeks of the semester wouldn’t give me much focus. Although it would be fun to continue, I knew I was stalling. My wife had agreed to a year of lessons, and I’m in my 13th month. So instead of rescheduling, I thought the time was right, with the end of the month looming, to face the music, or turn away from it, so to speak. My four seasons of piano lessons have come and gone.

You can’t learn to play the piano in a year, not if you are living any kind of other busy life or are not unusually blessed with some special musical gift (and I am not). But I do think the year of studying piano has taught me some lessons. Partly, I’m sure, humility and added respect for people who can pick out a tune.

I’m also a bit better at hand bells than I was—my timing and knowledge of other notes besides G and A have improved my bell playing.

Another view of the Busse piano.

Another view of the Busse piano.

My piano teacher, the gentleman who provides lessons to MMU students, was kind, patient and very instructive. I appreciate his insightful ability to make suggestions that would help an old dog like me learn a few new tricks.

If you are an MMU student or know some people who are, and you or they wonder if piano lessons are worth the time and cost, I would say “yes.” You’re far better off learning a bit while you’re young, rather than waiting, as I did, until my fifth decade. And you could not ask for a nicer teacher.

Well, I hope I’ve given my brain a good workout. I worry that all my keyboard knowledge will quickly atrophy, and I’m hoping it’s in the stars for me to again tickle the ivories in the future. I still have my mother’s piano, and it’s been good to have it make some noise. In a few years, if I had stuck with it and if I also had that piano tuned and fixed, I suppose “noise” might have turned into music.

Maybe it still will but just not now. Now is time to buckle down and battle my way to the end of another busy spring semester, and then start thinking about next year, which includes yet another fall faculty series.

Well, thanks, Tony, for all your help this year. I enjoyed our conversations almost more than the lessons, and even the lessons, which felt now and then like they were melting my brain, were fun.

So we fade out, trail off; let that note softly fall silent. Only for now, I hope.

Final look.

Final look.



Filed under Mount Mercy

2 responses to “To My Piano Teacher: Thanks So Much, TTFN

  1. Katherine McLaren

    I really respect you for giving it a whirl. I must say that one year is not going to do anything but help you appreciate those who stuck to it for many years. I started when I was just out of kindergarten and didn’t quit till I graduated from college.I must say it was a gift that God blessed me with.I truly enjoy playing the keyboard.

    • CRGardenJoe

      I didn’t honestly expect to learn to play the piano in a year–it was something new to try, and I did gain some respect for musicians. I think I learned a bit more about music, and, I hope improved my brain health. I also do aspire to go back to it some day, with the knowledge that at my age, I’ll never be a musician like someone who started in kindergarten is! One reason I did it is that I think, as a teacher, I ought to try to learn something new now and then just to have the visceral knowledge of how much there is to learn when you try something new. Thanks for the respect!

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