Friday, January 21, 2011

Unrealistic expectations

So.

One of my New Year's non-resolution resolutions was to start playing piano again.

It's been about 30 years since I've played,but this past summer we got a great deal on a used piano and we bought it so our Granddaughters could take lessons.

I've hacked around a bit on it...you know...chopsticks, The House of the Rising Sun, Love is Blue. All the songs I memorized 30 years ago.

Mr. Jenny was impressed.

"Wow," he said, "You know how to play really good!"

So...

I went to the music store and stocked up on cool sheet music. The first song I decided to tackle was "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day. It didn't look that hard.


And after I brought the sheet music home, I told Mr. Jenny to let me warm up a bit and then I would play it for him.

Ummm...

OK.

Yeah.

Somehow along the way, I forgot how to read music. All the little dots and lines just blurred together into a quagmire of something undecipherable. Obviously playing piano isn't much like riding a bike. Although I haven't tried that in about 30 years either...

A few minutes after I figured that hard truth out, Mr. Jenny came out to the living room with a big smile on his face. "I'm ready to hear it!" he said.

Ummm...

OK.

Yeah.

I told him I was a little rusty. And it might be a few days before I would be ready to play it. And that I needed time alone to concentrate.

And then when he left the room, I dug through the piano bench and found the books our Grands used over the summer.

I turned a few pages and found a really, really cool song. After a few minutes practice I mastered it. OK, technically I haven't mastered it yet, but the notes being numbered with the correct fingers to use helps a lot!

And I think it's actually a wayyyy cooler song than "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" anyway.

Who wants to hear Green Day when they can listen to an emotional rendition of...



"The Wind Sock" is a haunting piece of music that will make your heart soar and has lyrics that speak directly to your heart.

Down at the airport, the wind sock is flying. It shows all the pilots which way the wind blows.

With great songs like this at my disposal, I may just have to wait to January 2012 to tackle Boulevard.

Sigh.

post signature

41 comments:

5thsister said...

And it is very important to know which way the wind blows...you have done a wonderful public service my friend.

Oh and good luck on relearning to sight read music! You can do it...I've got faith in you!

Theresa said...

I can read a little music:) But VERY simple is what I choose! Can't wait to hear the Green Day song being played by you! HUGS!

Terra said...

Crackin me up! I have a teenager that is teaching Hailey how to play the piano and Lauren is learning the guitar and I could almost kind of play the flute once...but other than that we have no musical talent in our house and sadly it will likely stay that way!!!

Kat said...

I took lessons when I was very young. I soon learned that I had a good ear, and if I could trick the teacher into playing it a few times, I could repeat it without such silly nonsense as reading those squiggly lines. Needless to say, I never progressed much. Although I can play the intro to Moonlight Sonata like nobody's business. Now I just listen to Cait and DH and cheerlead:) Kat

Wanda..... said...

"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" is awfully pretty, Jenny, so get to it and practice!!! My oldest g/daughter Amanda can play classical music and is giving her little sister Alivia lessons.

BEAR's Mom said...

you go girl!!!
tickle those ivories :)
~victoria~

LemonyRenee' said...

LOL! I know exactly how you feel, Jenny. I have had the exact same situation this year with my son beginning piano lessons. I can't decipher any note too far off the lines -- can't remember what those lines, collectively, are even called! Bummer!

Isn't there something about "Every Good Boy Does Fine" or something for figuring out notes? And I think the left hand is "Good Boys Do Fine Always" -- oh man, I hope I'm not screwing you up more, but it seems to be somehow those phrases were useful.

Good luck!

Jocelyn said...

Love that you are back to playing the piano...something that I have always wanted to do!!!

Can't wait to hear the Green Day!!!! :-)

La said...

Before we know it you'll be tickling the ivories at the neighborhood paino bar. :o)

Have a great weekend! La

Cheryl said...

Yep, having those numbered notes and correct finger prompts goes a long way towards healing broken dreams and high expectations.

I may just take this upstairs to my electric piano and rock it out! I can read the notes on Wind Sock. Oh yes I can.

I can still do the intro to Moonlight Sonata. After that, pfft.

Susan said...

You have inspired me to start playing again. Wait...I don't have a piano, oh well, maybe in my dreams.
Susan

ain't for city gals said...

I would actually like to have this music on the wind sock...my sister-in-law who is 74 has been teaching herself to play the piano and she is a pilot!...would fit her to a tee..

Mumsy said...

Good for you Jenny! You are going to be reading that music and playing like a pro before you know it...I know you will. The talent is there you just need to stir it up. Would love to hear you play! Hugs

Jeanie said...

We hava a very nice baby grand piano that sits mostly unused. I keep saying that lessons are in my future, but it hasn't happened. I need to suck it up and at least learn to play "The Wind Sock".

Ames said...

Bravo Jenny! I am impressed and jealous too! I always wanted to play the piano. My father bought an organ and paid for my little sister to have lessons but that's as far as it went. I think he was shooting for an all girl band since I already played the drums.

Did you know playing a piano is good stimulation for the brain. By stimulating the brain you are activating the neurons in your brain, thus the permanent damage or death of cells will be reduced compared to others who do not. It may help in slowing the progression of alzheimers too! Smart girl! Keep at it. I want an invitation to your first concert!~Ames

Willoughby said...

I think it's awesome that you're getting back to playing the piano! It's something I've always wanted to do. I can play a half dozen or so songs that I learned to play by ear, but I haven't read music since I played the clarinet in 5th grade.

Have you thought about looking for some refresher lessons on Youtube? My daughter and my son's girlfriend taught themselves to play "100 Years" by Five For Fighting by watching an instructional video they found there. BTW - I highly recommend learning that one. For one thing, it's a pretty song. Secondly, both girls mastered it in a short amount of time.

Wombat Central said...

I, too, decided a few years ago to pick up playing the piano again. I also discovered I'd completely forgotten how to read sheet music. Hubby got me a simplified version of the music from Pride and Prejudice for incentive. Learned "Dawn" in an adult piano class (picture a roomful of adults wearing huge headphones that 800 teens had worn during the school day) while banging on a keyboard. Hilarious. I did learn to play the song, but I still need LOTS of work on reading music. I've already forgotten the notes I learned for that one two years ago. :P We should start a support group!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

LOL! :-D

Jo said...

oh yeah ... sheet music is nothing like a bike ... it's all just lines and dots to me now ...
Have fun with it, i hope you are able to pick it up again!

Marlene said...

You get nothing but admiration from me. I don't even remember where Middle C is anymore.

Vintagesouthernlife said...

Good for you! I would like to play again someday. When I took lessons I found I could "play by ear," which I liked better than the simple little scales they were making me start with. The teacher refused to teach me since I did it my way, LOL. Now I can't read music and would have to start with those same little scales!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh, so cute Jenny.
Best of luck on your future concerts...think of all the airport lounges you can conquer. :)

Judie said...

I never thought I would forget, but while back in Atlanta I sat down at Mum's piano and felt like I had a case of amnesia! It would take a lot of practicing to get back where I was 13 years ago!!
Ah! The Wind Sock! I used to know it by heart!!

Jennifer said...

I know I say this almost all the time, but you always put a smile on my face! :D

I've never played piano before... You know how little kids will ask their parents if they can learn this or play this sport? Yeah... For whatever reason (I suppose it was my severe shyness), I would never ask. But I always wanted to play piano... Still do...

myletterstoemily said...

hee hee!

i think i have heard green day play "wind sock."

you make me smile.

one of my resolutions is to brush up on 'my'
music, too. those little 1/8th notes seem so
much smaller . . .

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Memories. :-)

I wanted to learn to play the piano. Our first apartment, had a piano in it. I tried. I'd never learned to read music. But I learned to pick out 'Linda.' Memorized playing it. Wheeeee!

Needless to say, [luckily] I got preg. We bought a little house and left the piano/apartment behind. And I kept having kids. And that was the end of my trying to learn to play the piano. .-)

Hugs & ♥'s...
'Cause Valentine Day is coming!

the cape on the corner said...

i was never taught how to read music, yet i've been in choir my entire school career, including in college. the first time singing something was of course the hardest, since i had no idea what sounds to make, but listening to the choir would teach me. as an adult, i tried to teach myself to play the guitar..it went ok until chords. i can play the notes fine after i go through and label what letter it is. all i was doing was remembering where my fingers went for what letter, not using the notes. does that make sense? good luck getting reacquainted with the piano!

Kass said...

This will keep you young forever.

I sing commendations to you.

Mama Zen said...

I bet you can really rock The Wind Sock!

Karen S. said...

I'm still laughing, thanks, but really good luck and who has more fun than you Jenny!

Sue said...

That's deep, Jenny. I'm not sure why, but I've always related to this particular theme. Wind socks are so transcendent, don't you think?

I hope you are singing, too. Lyrics like these simply demand to be heard.

;)

PS. Good job, taking piano lessons. I've considered going back and getting up to speed again, too.

Christy said...

LOL! love it! You had me giggling and wanting to go home and play the piano

noexcuses said...

Just remember John & Paul could not read music. Can you download Boulevard and teach yourself by ear? I know that sounds crazy, but I taught myself a few songs (30 years ago) using this method.

Kudos to you for giving it a try! Baby steps....

Brenda said...

I took lessons as a child and I probably only remember where middle C is.

Cheryl D. said...

Yeah. I can relate to this too!

Sara Katt said...

Meow!
My mother learned to play when she was young and now we have one of those big black wooden boxes in our house.

Stick with it Jenny! You can do it if you just keep at it!
Mother is in a similar boat. She pencils in what note it is on the left hand, because she has forgotten how to sight read the left-hand scale!

Purrs,
Sara Cat


P.S.
['P is for Piano' maybe a post for AT when we get to P?]

Amy said...

How very tragic! And the finger numbers really do help, don't they? I think I am beginning to forgot how to play as well. It has been far too long. Sigh.
I am sure next year you will have mastered the Green Day song, along with many others!

juanamac said...

My husband decided to go back to piano lessons last year. He is now doing fantastically well, even if sometimes he doesn't listen to my musical advice... lol. But stick at it, yay! Music is such a gift and all the hard work is worth it. Even to play a windsock song.

Ⓙ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

This is so much like something I've done, Matlock! I can read the music and play either the left hand or the right hand....but I can't get them both to play together and still be able to recognize the song.

myorii said...

I think that the fact you still remembered how to play the piano after 30 years is impressive enough to me :) I've never been a great pianist, especially since I lacked the patience needed to learn the basics.

I'm sure that you will get your second wind with piano playing soon enough and will tackle Boulevard with no problem at all :)

Danice said...

I just remembered this song randomly after over 10 years of not doing music. I decided to Google the lyrics to see if anyone else remembered it, and lo and behold, I found your blog. I laughed until I cried.