Shaken Not Stirred

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Musical Regrets

When I think about growing up, I remember my father a quiet pensive man. He played the piano daily--for as long as I could remember. Songs like "Moon River"--from Breakfast at Tiffany's and old Sinatra favorites fill our living room. He still plays the piano on a daily basis.

The piano use to intimidate me. My father, naturally talented, played by ear. You could hum a tune and in a few minutes, he could plink it out on it's keyboards. He hired a teacher to come to our home and teach my brother, sister and I how to create our own music. We were too busy. We had our friends, we had other activities. There were fireflies to be caught, rather than practice scales. There were make-believe dragons for me to catch and slam-dunks for my atheletically inclined brother. My sister was scared stiff of our strict maestro, who could hear the slightest difference in the timing of a staccato.

After about eight years of lessons for us, our maestro went on to record some gospel music and dedicated her life to singing in a church choir. The only reason the piano didn't gather dust was because my father continued to play with the keys.

Now his grandchildren surround the piano bench. They climb eagerly into his lap to help him find the right keys. Each grandchild, five in all, have pictures with him on the piano. He smiles eagerly at each one, hoping that one of them will learn to appreciate it's fine art.

P.S. My siblings and I talk everyday about the lessons we didn't take advantage of. And everyday, my father reminds us that it's never too late.
P.S.S. We also had violin lessons which we also neglected.
P.S.S.S. My father can play the piano, violin, and saxaphone all by ear. Every party he attends, someone always enourages him to show off his talent.


  • I wish I had taken dance. My mom said she asked repeatedly if I'd like to take lessons and I always said no, I liked sport better. Maybe it isn't too late... maybe I can find a mother-daughter class to enjoy with my four-year-old.

    By Blogger JJ, at 3:03 PM  

  • I wish I wish I wish I could've learned to play the piano!

    By Blogger Lindsey, at 4:34 PM  

  • Hey angel,i can relate but i'm
    not giving up i'm going to
    master an instrument before i
    die.My first was the piano
    couldn't get the hang of it,
    then the guitar,couldn't do
    that and i got lessons from
    a guy who wrote a book.Now
    it's the clarinet i'm trying
    to master ,but it's not working.
    Maybe drums will be next, i love
    beating the hell out of

    By Blogger michele, at 5:09 PM  

  • my dad has the same talent- "playing things by ear"..i always admired how he plays the spanish acoustic guitar..when i was 16 he gave me one and because i have no patience, i gave up trying to learn. i wanted to sound just like him in an instance. now i regret now learning when i had the chance..

    By Blogger vani, at 10:10 PM  

  • That is an incredible talent he has. But don't fret, your talent lies in a different interest. Medicine and helping people.

    By Blogger Lee Ann, at 10:18 PM  

  • Wow - your dad is sure talented. I played the drums for several years when I was in school but gave it up as from where I come music was not really a career option

    In some ways I wish I had never given up

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:34 AM  

  • Wow, what a talented dad.
    The only instrument my parents or I ever learnt was the recorder, which was compulsory at school. To this day, I hate the sound of the recorder !! Chicky had to learn it a couple of years ago ... boy, did I go crazy !!!
    Take care, Meow

    By Blogger Meow, at 3:08 AM  

  • Hey Angel -- and Vani -- I am REALLY impressed with your dads. I've heard of people playing many instruments without sheet music, but never by playing with their ears!! ;)

    -- david

    By Blogger David Amulet, at 7:33 AM  

  • I'm glad I took advantage of the brain downloads while I was in the Matrix.

    By Blogger Gyrobo, at 10:07 AM  

  • That comment by David cracks me up! :-)

    I can't play music after listening to it a few times. I can read notes but ever so slowly and I wish I worked on that when I was younger. I didn't think I'd want to be in an orchestra but it would just be fun to play anything with a guitar without asking if anyone knows the chords to it.

    missy xx

    By Blogger missy, at 10:22 AM  

  • well, my mom tried to get me to play the piano. no doing.

    by the way, do you WANT to learn? you never really said.

    now if your dad could play all 3 of those instruments at the same time, we would see him on TV.

    By Blogger Badoozie, at 10:44 AM  

  • i did the piano lessons too and taught piano when i was a teenager.

    my later teen years i did neglect the there was much more to do with friends at the time!

    i'm glad i was exposed to it though.

    have to agree with lee ann in that you have an amazing talent too in medicine and people.


    By Blogger mollymcmommy, at 8:08 PM  

  • I learned to play piano, flute, xylophone and bass when I was younger. I stopped playing bass and piano around my mid 20's.My little brother apparently has a band and has started giggin' around northern Louisiana. I can still sight read music- which is good for church. I think rock&roll ruined my voice though...

    By Blogger sabatkes, at 11:44 PM  

  • That's my one big regret, not fully continuing to learn to play any instrument. My brother can play a bunch of different instruments, and I can't even play chopsticks.

    By Blogger The Phoenix, at 1:50 AM  

  • Its never too late bro! All my brothers and I have been or are in groups that play all over the twin cities!

    By Blogger twolf1920, at 9:12 AM  

  • Your father sounds like a natural born musician. I am always impressed by this. I played trumpet in band for a few years but I wish I would have learned some other instrument.

    By Blogger :P fuzzbox, at 11:08 AM  

  • I too had a piano at home when I was a kid. I took about 6 weeks of lessons before I couldn't do it b/c the instructor was not for me. Not that I knew it at the time but today, I wish that I could have learned it. I did play french horn for 6 yrs though. So, we all have regrets but don't worry, it's all good. You could always go back and have lessons.

    By Blogger Drywall Mom, at 9:29 PM  

  • I took piano, but I didnt like it, so I picked up violin when I was about 23...i loved it....

    By Blogger Princess Pessimism, at 2:30 AM  

  • My biggest regret is that I sold my Piano. I'm thinking of getting a new one this christmas.

    By Blogger Ben Heller, at 5:31 AM  

  • My father isn't musically talented, but I can relate. He is a craftsperson, he can build anything out of practically nothing. I often wish to have his skill, his way of thinking.

    My longest running hobby is telling myself I'm going to learn to play the guitar. I've started and stopped several times.

    By Blogger blackcrag, at 5:04 PM  

  • It's reeally wierd how some people have that "playing by ear" talent. Perhaps they could have benefitted from the "think system" made fmaous in "The MUsic Man." Of course that guy was a con artist.

    By Blogger White Dade, at 5:48 PM  

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