Tag Archives: piano

J is for Jazz

Encyclopedia of Me Meme

My senior year in high school I signed up to be the pianist in Jazz band.  At school I always played the French horn for everything, and was looking forward to using some of my other talents and to something different as well.  I had talked with our band director and he had agreed that I, and one other person, should be the Jazz pianists.

On my first day of class I entered the band room to find three girls hovered around the piano.  I recognized the one I was to co-play with, and to our amazement the other two girls were there to play piano as well. they just hadn’t asked our band director’s permission.

Mr. E started called the class to order and scanned over everyone assembled and ready to play, “We end up with four pianists and no one to play trombone. How on Earth did that happen?”  He thought for a moment and disappeared into his office. When he came out he had a book and a trombone, though no one really noticed as we were all chatting once he disappeared.

“J-” he called to me.  “Here’s a trombone and here’s a beginner’s book, go teach yourself how to play and then come and join us. You can be our lone trombone player.”

Well, I had wanted something different, but not quite like that.  I did learn to play it passably well however, and by the end of the year I finally accepted all the jazz solos Mr. E kept trying to push on me.  I don’t think I could remember how to play a trombone now, but it sure would be fun to try if we had one. 

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Filed under Meme, Music, Youth

Again! Again!

I was sitting in the rocking chair beside the piano wishing for the waves of nausea that have been plaguing me for nearly 2 months now to subside and for my body to be suddenly infused with energy that I seemed so devoid of lately.  All the kids were playing outside with Dad except for Jacob who was rummaging through the music rythm instrument bin near the piano.

I watched through half opened eyes as he pulled out his favorite drum and prepared himself for a grand concert.  Then he looked at me, then at the piano, then at me, then at the piano.  Finally pointing a small chubby finger at the piano he looks at me, “Pay!”  I have an idea what he is asking, but it is too much fun to just do it, I have to encourage him a bit.

“Do you want me to play the piano?”

“Mama pay!” he says again.

“Can you say please?”

“Pease,” comes the plaintive little cry and I launch in a rollicking Joplin rag to which he beats and pounds upon his little drum. 

 I finished the piece and sat a moment thinking I should get dinner ready when Jacob pipes up, “again.”

“You want me to play again?”

“Pease,” he is catching on at this point and I launch into another fun frollicking piece.  What can I say, he is stroking my ego a bit.  There is something special about your child begging you to play and to keep playing.  I don’t recall any of the other kids begging me to keep playing, even though I know they enjoy it.

He put up the request of “Again, pease” one more time and then I really had to get dinner ready.  It sure is nice to know that my kids love music as much as Paul and I do. 🙂

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Filed under Children, Jacob, Music

Register

Weekly Anamnesis #20

I looked down in horror at my hands, every finger bent and crushed beyond recognition. I would never play the piano again. Never feel the music course through my body as my soul soared and my passion consumed me. The weight of my emptiness pressed down upon me, suffocating, hot, I couldn’t breathe, and darkness was pressing upon me from every corner . . .

I ripped the covers from off my face and sat up in my bed, gasping for air. The memory of the dream quickly receding into nothingness, and yet I quickly checked my fingers to be sure that they were in tact. I am sure every pianist has a dream similar to this at least once in her life.

I have never broken an arm or finger; I have never had any injury that stopped me from playing the piano. Except tendonitis, and I just take my brace off and play anyway when I feel like it. That is why the enormity of this week’s accident didn’t register with me until long after the event.

It was Elizabeth’s birthday and we decided to have a special birthday trip up the Columbia River Gorge. We drove with my parents, and my brother and his family came along as well. It was a beautiful sunny day and we hiked to numerous falls with the children, their giggles and chatter dancing with the breeze along the trails. Jacob soft babble tickled my ear from his perch in the backpack. We arrived back at the cars after our last hike and were trying to get everyone loaded. All the doors were open, and placing my hand on the narrow part of the van between the open driver’s door and the open sliding door, I leaned in to check on Emily and Elizabeth’s progress and to be sure they were getting buckled in.

It didn’t register when it happened, though an “ow!” escaped my lips when I heard dad hop in and shut his door. When I tried to move to see what was going on my hand was stuck. I just looked at my hand, all the fingers disappearing under the edge of the door. “Umm, dad? My hand!” I spoke so calm, he didn’t comprehend what I was talking about until he saw my hand. With an exclamation of horror he flung his door open and my husband came running to inspect the damage. I should have been scared to death. I should have felt pain and been inspecting each finger for breaks. But I hadn’t felt any pain. In fact it had felt like my fingers had been trapped in pillows. They had escaped completely unscathed and I felt no pain as I flexed each finger in turn.
“There will be bruising for sure,” my dad said as we all realized with dismay that I was to play a piano solo the next day in church. “They feel fine dad, and they don’t even hurt to touch!”

My fingers were and are fine, and I played my piano solo without a hitch. A miracle to me, and a realization that my talent and love for the piano is not just important to me, but important to the Lord as well. Oh, and I will watch where I put my hand from now on too!

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Filed under Anamnesis, Miracles, Music, Writing

Recital

I have to take a moment tonight and praise my piano students. We had our piano recital this evening (we have two a year) and everyone did so well. I always get so nervous for all of them, wanting them to do their best. It feels so good to work hard for something and then have it turn out well. So I was so pleased when all my students did an outstanding job. No one was perfect (are we ever?) but the mistakes were minimal and they really sounded polished. I was really proud of them. I have had recitals that haven’t come out this good, but tonight was just awesome. We had everything from My daughter Dorothy plunking out a few simple notes to Scott Joplin and Aaron Coplin. The wide range made it especially fun. I know I am not supposed to have favorites as a teacher, but my two favorite kids (Lizard and Dot of course 🙂 ) did really well too. I could tell that Dot especially was nervous but she just plowed right through her little piece. You go girl. And Lizard held hers together really well too. It wasn’t Carnegie Hall, and we definitely aren’t concert pianists, but we love music and had a lot of fun. ( I must say, it is a big relief to have it over though)

One more thing . . in a strange twist of fates . . .

A lady from church came to visit yesterday and told me she was looking for a home for her two girl cockatiels and was wondering if we would like them. The strange part? She didn’t know that Pepe had just died. Of course I said yes and she will bring them tomorrow. I haven’t told the kids yet, they will be so excited. So, I am collecting name ideas. Some kind of dynamic girl duo. I’ll even post their pictures when they come, since you all never got to meet Pepe. *sniff* 🙂

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Filed under Dot, Family, Lizy, Music