Young Pianist

DSCF2413I had a tenant that skipped out on the rent. Not unusual in the art world. But we did not lose out entirely. He left a baby grand piano in his space.

I have a musical son who teaches at Parsons in NY City , but I am tone deaf. It cost a couple of hundred bucks to move the piano one flight up to our living loft. It sits there looking very elegant but nobody plays it. Then along came my grandson Oliver. He is five . A year ago, he became interested in the baby grand and began tinkling away. I have been getting my granddaughter to do little acts. She writes out a play and performs it. I thought I would incorporate into the act and have Oliver accompany her with music . He loves the idea. She acts the play, I read the lines and conduct him. He watches me like a hawk . If I say here comes the rain he plays gentle notes. If it is ‘here comes the thunder’, ┬áit gets louder. He is a sort of natural.

There is talk in the family of getting a piano teacher. I’m not against it but at the same time I am worried about nipping his natural enthusiasm┬áin the bud from the strictures of lessons. I know at some point he will have to learn to read music . I also know that in art kids are so free about expressing themselves . When working with the grand kids doing painting, I never direct them. I only make stuff available and let them go at it. This inclination to create in children can be smothered by teachers showing them how to do it properly, like drawing a hand properly. Kids do a circle with three, four, five or six stick fingers coming out of it . This can be far more interesting than a hand drawn properly.

Most grandparents probably think their grand kids are special , and in so many cases they are right . All kids in the formative years absorb stuff like sponges and like it says formative , and we have to pay close attention to those years and not be over attentive or under attentive and make what they are going to absorb available.

So I find myself debating the pros and cons of early instruction . Oliver loves the piano . I would like him to go on loving it as a magical instrument and feel that we have to be very careful as to who instructs him. There are millions of people who play the piano but how many of them can make it reveal the magic hidden away inside the player?

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