I actually have 2 piano stories.
The first, will take me years to complete. It is excruciating; it makes me squirm and rage. So best left untouched for the now.
The other piano story, is one of friendship, and heart, and community. A much more pleasant and easily digestible tale.
We are (?) care taking, housing, no: blessed with, the care of a piano belonging to a friend.
We just had it tuned. And while I appreciate it and cherish its presence in our home every.single.day, I am feeling inspired to sing its praises anew.
I played piano when I was a child… The comfort and joy in the playing weren’t there for me.
I viewed my practice as a chore; similar to the way I view a garden (flower, vegetable or otherwise): it’s a place you are sent to toil & pull weeds. Not a sanctuary or place of growth and joy.
Our son, Harrison, began playing about a decade ago. We found a teacher for him who has been a prefect match. Music theory, scales, chord progressions, are all covered as they should be. But from there, the sky is the limit. The songs they play are chosen together ~ whatever suits the mood. Ragtime. New Orleans jazz. Indiana Jones movie soundtrack music. The Beatles.
Just to name a few. A very few.
Recent musical obsessions of my son’s have included Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and now: Billy Joel.
To hear the songs of these artists played in our living room, by my son, on this amazing piano… Makes my heart explode. In a good way.
The piano belongs to a family friend, a member of my Quaker community. I met this woman when I was in my early 20s, long before I met Mr. Blitch. The piano is one she had in her home when her sons were young, and they had a spacious house with plenty of room. Two decades later, her sons are grown, living far away in places where they can’t have the piano. She also moved, to a beautiful home in the SW hills of Portland. There is a steep and treacherous walkway from the street to the entrance of the house, not a great place for this beautiful Baby Grand.
When Harrison was little, we were renting a small upright piano. My friend learned that we were making monthly payments that were hard on our budget right around the same time that she needed to move her piano into a “foster home.”
So we have this amazing instrument. We treasure it, and appreciate its presence. We’ll keep it until one of her sons moves somewhere where they would be able to enjoy it again themselves.
And we have Jeff Baxter. Harrison’s piano teacher for the last 8 years. Harrison is 16 now, so Holy Cow ~ half of our kid’s life has been touched by this amazing person.
Jeff has his own son now, a super fun kiddo with the most excellent name of Arlo Baxter.
This is our community, our tribe. We raise our kids in this sketchy, sometimes terrifying world ~~ and music provides comfort, sanctuary, hope.
This is how we teach our children to survive. Music heals. Inspires, enriches.
Lullabies, hand clapping songs, symphonies, folksongs, requiems… All phases and stages of human life are accompanied in some way by music.
Without it, what would be?
Feeling tremendously grateful for so many things. Making every day a celebration.