Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory

March 11 - Piano Lessons for Dad

The kids take piano lessons every Thursday. To be honest, they're probably a little too young for it (at least Lyric is, Zephyr is at least starting to noticeably improve), but their teacher Lauren is very kind and patient and I believe this might be one of those things that might go a little over their heads now but will serve as a nice foundation for deeper knowledge and familiarity later. I've mentioned before that I don't play a musical instrument, and I think that's been to my detriment. I'm fairly determined to make sure my kids have the chance to learn how to play an instrument when they're young, so that they'll have the ability to become good at an instrument when they're older.

Unfortunately, the fact that I don't play an instrument leaves me at a disadvantage for teaching my kids how to play an instrument. At some point, there's going to be a lot of practice time I'm going to have to mandate, but we're not at that point yet. Now I think we just have to get them to a point where they're enjoying playing around with the instrument (in my case, that instrument is a piano - a Yamaha Synthesizer - but I think this could be applicable to any musical instrument). So the challenge for me was to come up with a way to make them enjoy playing.

This challenge led to me coming up with the "Teach Dad Piano" morning activity. It's somewhat like Teddy Bear School in that it lets the kids act as teachers, but I think it's even more like the ancient Roman practice of Saturnalia, where role-reversals were encouraged and masters served their slaves at the family table. The kids are so used to being the ones learning something that the novelty and power of being in the position of teacher can be a thrill for them. If I can link this thrill to playing piano, I think I'll be closer to my goal of getting them into the instrument and reinforcing what they learn at their lessons.

Lyric showed me his song first this morning. It was pretty simple.

Lyric teaches me the song he learned in Piano lessons so far. You kind of don't realize how important fire is to birthday parties until it makes it into a song.

I got his song pretty quickly... it was just a simple scale, after all. But he did get an opportunity to correct my technique, however, saying my fingers needed to cross over each other as they went up the keyboard. I could see that made him feel good to know something I didn't.

Then it was Zephyr's turn, and he showed me a slightly more complicated song he's been working on:

Zephyr teaches me his piano song, "The Wishing Star". It's apparently some sort of German folk song? I don't know, I never heard it before.

Zephyr told me "Piano is a test for the brain and for the hand", and I could tell by the way he said it that it was something he's been told a bunch of times. Just by that I got a really nice glimpse into his lessons, what he's learning, and what he's working on. I didn't think I'd be able to film myself trying to play what Zephyr had taught me, but Zephyr said he'd do the filming while I played.

And now I try to play "The Wishing Star" with Zephyr's help. Camerawork by Zephyr!

Not bad for someone who doesn't know how to play, I guess.