It has been my privilege to teach piano for about twenty four years, and I have truly loved it. Yes, it gets tiring at times, but the satisfaction of teaching someone to play something truly magnificent is so rewarding. And.... teaching "Mr. Frog is full of Hops" year after year is also very rewarding in its own right. It's all good. We are getting ready for our summer recital, and although it's taxing, it is one of my favorite parts of teaching piano. I love that the kids work and work at one piece until it is perfected. Jerry can now hum quite a few selections that he hears each night! I am sure their parents get tired of hearing the songs, but it never gets old for me.
It was my wish that my children would learn to play, and so I taught each one of them. All seven can play, but Adam, Bethany and Mark are the ones who enjoy it the most. I adore the violin, and so it became my fevered hope that I would have my darling twin sons learn this instrument and play together. How cute would that be? Alas, Mark rebelled after a very upsetting recital and declared he would no longer take lessons. Matthew kept trying gamely and was able to get past the squeaky, scratchy sound of the novice violin player. He and a good friend, Drake Larsen, took from Steve Shupe, (old man Shupe as they affectionally call him) and actually started to sound pretty good!!
Drake's mother and my good friend, Alisa, and I ran with this, and started to prepare the boys to go on the road with their talents (neighborhood and ward) . Mark was still taking piano and seemed to really be liking it. The boys were eleven when we decided they would play, "As I have Loved You" as a trio with Drake and Matthew at the violin, and Mark accompanying them on the piano.
It took a lot of work, bribery, and threats to get them to be able to perform this one number. I would not have called any one of them gifted by any means, but we were determined that our three cute boys would perform it well. Many nights were spent trying to get them in sync with each other. Mark would play away in his own little world while Drake scratched his nose, and Matthew stared away into the distance (he is his mother's son). The practice sessions were further hindered by the presence of our large cat, Marty. As soon as the trio would commence, he would creep, usually unnoticed , into the living room where his apparent hatred of the combination of strings and piano would drive him to attack the innocent musician. Usually it was the violinist, but occasionally he would even claw the unsuspecting pianist. Alisa and I were concentrating on each note being played correctly, and the sudden yelp of the victim would startle us into seeing the cat sink its' sharp claws whatever body part he could reach. We never knew where he was, and we would banish him when the first altercation occurred, but when the next practice session began, the cat was lying in wait. One would think it would affect the practicing, but either the boys secretly got a kick out of making Marty crazy, or we just got caught up in the music....either way, I think it heightened the dynamics. The boys played their number beautifully and we couldn't have been prouder.
The boys have been out on their mission over a year now, and Mark and Matthew have played the piano. Matthew's mission president asked us to send his violin out to Ohio, and he has enjoyed playing at conferences and meetings. Drake, of course, is in Russia and doesn't get the opportunity as much. We miss the boys and their music. They got to the point where they could "jam" together and create neat arrangements. Gone was the day when Alisa and I begged for "just one more time through". They would practice on their own!
In December, Drake's younger brother, Ted was asked to play at a Relief Society program. He came over with his mom and pulled out his violin. Alisa and I got a little emotional over the fact that the boys were gone, and here was little Ted taking up the reins. Umm....and then, in came the cat. We had quite forgotten how much Marty despised the violin. We got pretty excited and begged Ted to let us take pictures to send to the missionaries. Ted was very courageous, and played away , full knowing that he was about to be attacked by a cat who hadn't had his claws nipped in some time. I played the piano.......
|Ted is anticipating "the Attack"|
|"You know I despise violin music!"|
|Ted is not too wounded and keeps playing|
|Marty has abandoned the cause|