Tag Archives: Piano lessons

Music and Me Part 2

28 Mar

Sunday Memories

Judy Wills

Still considering my piano playing,  I guess one of my favorite pieces to play was “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy.  A magnificent piece.  I really loved that music.  Unfortunately, so many of the Miss America contestants during those years played it for their talent, it sort of became “rote.”  There was another piece by Debussy, “The Sunken Cathedral” that I attempted to learn to play, but it just seemed to be out of my range of capability.  It’s quite complicated, but in the right hands, it, too is magnificent.  Mrs. Larsen played it for me one time, and I was mesmerized.

! have mentioned in a previous posting, that after we joined our church here in Orlando, that our Minister of Music gathered six of us that played the piano and we had a concert for the church.  We each played on a Clavinova (electronic pianos), which also meant they were all “tuned” together.  In my post of September 30, 2012, I mentioned this concert.  I mentioned that we practiced at the piano store, then they brought the instruments to the church and they were placed on the stage.  I stated:  We played two or three pieces all together – different parts of the song, like an orchestra.  Then we each played a duet with one of the other pianists, then a solo.  It was a great deal of fun, and we got to praise our Lord with the talent He gave each of us.

Photo credit Church Art

I never really thought I would be a piano teacher.  I mean, I played the instrument, but that is quite a bit different than teaching someone else to play it.  At different times, I have had several people ask me if I would teach their children, but I always declined.  However, when we were in Heidelberg (1980-1983), I was given the opportunity to teach.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the prospect, but the circumstances were different.

Photo credit Pixabay

You see, there was a Canadian family in our church.  They approached me about teaching their boys.  I was quite interested to learn that Canada has a “conservatory” system of teaching piano.  In other words, if you lived in one of the Eastern provinces and began taking piano lessons, but then had to move, perhaps to one of the Middle or  Western provinces, you could find a teacher and pick up right where you left off!  Neat!  And these boys had been taking lessons for a number of years, and just needed someone to keep them up-to-date while they were in Germany.  It was quite a program, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time we had together.  One of the boys was in high school, and the other boy was in middle school, therefore – different levels.  

Because of my time studying music at the Community College in Florida, I had learned a lot of theory that had just never occurred to me before.  I was able to pass all that along to those boys I was teaching.

Another time that I taught piano, was still during the time we were in Heidelberg.  We had a military doctor and his family living downstairs from us, and they had three little girls.  The oldest was about eight years old, and eager to learn.  And so they talked me into teaching her.  She had some piano lessons behind her, so that helped.  Well, as I’ve mentioned before, I was/am NOT a prodigy.  But this little girl WAS a prodigy.  I hardly had to teach her anything, and she was off and running with it.  For instance:  I have always had trouble doing transposition.  When I mentioned it to her, she said, “oh you mean like this?” and proceeded to transpose the song she was playing from one key to the next – all the way through the octave!  I’m sure my mouth was hanging open by that!  She was amazing!!

Photo credit Pixabay

To be Continued

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Practicing the Piano

25 Oct

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

I’ve mentioned in previous musings about how I started taking piano lessons the day I started first grade – and they continued until I graduated from high school. I was not a very accomplished pianist at that time. Perhaps still not, but more than I was at that time.

1952-Our new piano

1952-Our new piano

I remember my brother, Bill, saying how much he hated practicing the violin – so much so that our parents gave up and let him quit. Well, I pretty much had the same feeling about the piano. Yeah, I wanted to play that instrument, but just didn’t want to devote the time to practice! But they wouldn’t let me quit.

In going through some old papers recently, I came upon this poem.

2

My mother, at some point in time, found it and cut it out and sent it to me. It depicted how I would “practice” so much of the time. I remember one particular time that I just sat there on the piano bench, not even touching a note. Mother was outside, hanging up the clothes on the clothesline, so I didn’t think she would hear me. When my “time” was up, I just skipped outside, ready to get to something else. Mother looked at me and said, “Did you have a nice nap? Now get in there and practice!!” Trudging back to the piano, my thought was, “how did she know???”

But, as with all things, practice…practice…practice is what it takes to get a command of any instrument. I learned that the hard way, whether the piano or the organ (still not my favorite instrument to play). As I said before, I have the talent, but I don’t have the gift of the instrument. I’ve never been able to just sit down and play something for my own enjoyment. I wish I did or could – it would have made my practice time so much more enjoyable.

I haven’t used my talent on the piano for several years now. I still have my books and I do sit down occasionally to keep my hand in, but not very often. I still love to play the old hymns – and some of the arrangements of some new songs. But I still must have that piece of music in front of me in order to play it. None of it comes naturally.

But if I am ever needed, I can, and do, pick it up and play. God has given me the ability to be able to play for Him and His Kingdom. I play for His Glory, and that fills me up like nothing else.

I am blest.

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