I took pie-an-er lessons when I was just a girl.
I don’t know how many years I took, or what level I made it to. Let’s just say I ain’t no Chopin.
Or Elton John.
Or even Schroeder.
My first teacher was a sweet, soft-spoken Baptist whose home smelled of freshly brewed coffee, who smiled sweetly and encouraged gently.
After a couple of years with her, my mom decided to move me to a different teacher. One who might push me a little harder.
My second teacher was an old man, who worked from a studio that smelled of old men, who harshly rapped a baton on the piano to force me to keep time, and corrected harshly.
I left my piano lessons crying and begged my mother to allow me to quit.
Finally she conceded, but made me promise that I would take lessons again someday.
At nine years of age, with tears streaming, I promised.
I crossed my heart and hoped to die.
Stuck a needle in my eye.
And I never kept it.
I’ve lived with the guilt.
So about 2 or 3 years ago, just 24 years after my promise to my mother, I decided to take lessons again.
Only a child from my womb could make my mother any happier.
My third piano teacher is another sweet, soft-spoken Baptist whom I visit on Friday’s at 3:30. Most of my lesson is spent gabbing away with one another, since we just love to visit and catch up. That’s what makes it so special. It’s not just piano lessons, but a friendship.
But now I’ve quit again. When we bought our Little Trailer House on the Prairie, and started yanking up carpet, texturing walls, painting, laying floor, my time was swallowed up, and my piano practicing no longer fit in my day. I would show up on Friday’s to my lesson, hang my head in shame, tell her I’d do better next week, only to realize it had taken second fiddle and practicing piano just wasn’t happening.
So I told her I needed a hiatus. It felt like a break-up. I cried. She remained strong. I promised her I’d be back at the first of the year. I crossed my heart and hoped to die, stuck a needle in my eye. We made a pinky swear, then cut our hands and became blood sisters. Nothing would stop me from returning to piano lessons. As soon as we got the place finished, moved, and settled in, I would be back .
Now it’s the first of February, and we still haven’t gotten the place finished, much less moved or settled in.
I miss my piano lessons.
I miss my teacher Suzie.
I pulled out some music the other day, sat down to play
Row, Row, Row Your Boat a beautiful concerto and couldn’t remember where middle C was.
Please don’t tell my mother.