Friday, January 4, 2013

Let's start with Do

I thought I'd give a little try to teaching the monkeys some music. 

I honestly have not found any literature on teaching toddlers, although I did give it a try. 

Even now that they are 4, and it's listed as one my 2013 goals and Bucket List items, I haven't really found anything appropriate other than my own intuition. 

Even though I have had several beginner piano books in my amazon cue since the twyns were born,  those aren't really going to kick in until they can like - read - so ... [oh yeah, get on that reading thing... ]

I'm determined to give them a leg up in this hyper-focused, over-competitive world that is the majority of all suburbs in which I have ever lived and yet still manage to teach them patience, being present, and finding joy in the process of life. 


Gross. I want to vomit on myself. 

Basically, all I have to offer my children, is music. If I didn't impart a little of what I've learned in my 30-something years on this Earth as a lover of song, then they would for sure blame me for all their life's failures in future therapy sessions. I know this, because I still manage to resent my parents for not encouraging me to follow in their footsteps of healthcare/counseling. Curse them for wanting me to do something I loved! What kind of effin hippies do that?!

You gotta have an 'in' in this world, am I right? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that's my problem. 

Anyhoo, got the piano tuned today [woohoo! I'm like, a music person!], and started lesson #1.

Well, counting previously attempts, this would be 'music time' #462. 

Started with the girl. Showing her how to use her five fingers from C to G to do a small scale. Her fingers don't stretch quite enough, her other fingers do not want to stay on their assigned keys, and she just wants to play and sing "E-I-E-I-O." In fact, she stopped my finger-wrangling and yelled, 
"I JUST WANT TO SING E-I-O!"
"We will, darling, after we learn some scales."
Some scales? WTF was I thinking? 
I'll be lucky to get one four-year-old finger on one stinkin' key!

The girl fakes an injury, and heads to find a band-aid, or some lotion. Both of which she is adept at completely annihilating in two minutes. Flat.

Let's focus on the boy. He sees, literally, scribbles, that his sister likely penned in her early career, and wants to play this song. 
"The wave song," he says.
"It goes like this," he says, and takes his finger and hits one key at the high end of the piano, makes an arch, then hits another key in the middle of the piano, then bounces off that to make another arch, and ends on the lower end of the piano. 

Clearly, a piano prodigy in the making. 

Well, in the making of John Cage Jr. 

So I try the five-finger-wrangling C to G on him. He's starting to get it [a little], but I keep getting interrupted by the girl who is upstairs losing her mind over getting stuck in her 'scratchy' shirt [which  means more lotion will inevitably be required], then needing help with one of the forty band-aids she has now applied, because forty-one is clearly the magic number...

Back to boy. He is back to the "wave song." 

She now joins us. 

I pull myself together. Even if we do five minutes a day, I promise myself, this. will. DO. something.
"Let's start with C." 
I make them find the group of two black keys - then go under it to find the C. 
"Find all the C's, I say."
Easy, peesy, right? 

But there are many black keys, mama. Many sets of black keys. Many "two black keys", mama, and many white keys under them, mama. 
"Go to the left of the isolated set of two keys." 
JEEZ lady they neither know ISOLATED nor LEFT. Good work, though. Way to teach it.

I point out all the C's and hit them up and down the piano several times to show them, and they start to get antsy. Little girl still wants to sing. 

Hmph. Recalculating...
"Let's start with Do." 
"Remember Do, from Do-re-mi?"

They nod. I start to sing the song. Little boy wants to get. AWAY. FROM THE PIANO LADY YOU ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY! He starts to run his bug up and down the piano. I grab it from him.
"Nothing but fingers on the piano!"
"But this bug has fingers, mommy!" he shows me.
"No playing right now, I just want to do this one thing with you, ok?"
Maybe this came out a little louder than I had intended.
He starts to bolt, eyes red, welling up....
"Ok just put your finger on a DO key and I will give you your bug back and let you go play!! Ok? Bug?" I shake it at him from across the room. I'm losing him.
Doctor, we're losing him!
I shake the bug some more. Little boy immediately runs to the piano, plunks out a C and goes to bolt.  I grab him. I cradle him in my arms. Better bring back the love.
"Thank you, sweetie. Give mommy a kiss. I just wanted us to start learning piano today. You're going to like it, I promise. We're going to do a little bit everyday, ok?" 
"mmwohhhkee."
I turn to her back at the piano. Little girl plunks out a Re with a winning smile and I sigh. Again, I demonstrate all the Do's and she proudly finds one. She congratulates herself with a flutter away to 'play' as she now feels like she has won some competition. 

No scales - No C to G - No five fingers - no C - just: DO.

[And now, Mama needs a DO-RINK!]

By the way, this was the result of music time a while ago:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. You had me cracking up over here, and I had an awful day so that's quite an accomplishment. Good luck with your future lessons!

    ReplyDelete

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