Sitting at the piano with Grandma


If you’re like me, little did you know that this Friday is World Piano Day. It’s a day all about the history and love of the piano. What I read is that the focus is on classical music that’s played on a piano on this special day.

So that’s one way to celebrate, but I think about the piano lessons I took while I was growing up. Maybe endured would be a better term. Because my grandmother was a piano teacher, I started with lessons from her before I even started school. I don’t remember ever telling anyone that I wanted to learn to play, but there I was on the bench with my grandma in her chair beside me and the red beginner lesson book “Teaching Little Fingers to Play” in front of us.

I did okay on the piano as I learned, but since it was my dear grandma teaching me, I wasn’t as serious about the learning music as I could have been. As an example, I still remember there was a duet at the end of the beginner book so the teacher and the young student could play “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain” together.

Well, I practiced up to be ready to play the duet with my grandma during my lesson. We started just fine, her on the low notes while I played the melody up higher on the keyboard. Remember I was maybe five years old. We were playing along just fine, staying together on the piece, until I started giggling because I thought it was just so silly that Grandma was sitting down there and we were playing together on the same song. As I recall, it didn’t matter how many times we tried; I started to giggle every time we reached a certain measure in the song.

I wonder if Grandma finally gave up. And did she giggle with me?

Grandma’s piano was a console style, about halfway in size between a spinet and the big, clunky upright at my house. Most of the kids I knew taking lessons had an upright at home. Maybe those pianos is what we should be celebrating on World Piano Day, because they were really something–massive pieces of furniture with a lovely, rich tone. Some of those cases were very ornate, with carvings and other ornamentation.

Unfortunately, such uprights were terribly heavy and difficult to move. A neighbor once told me their upright piano was being sold with their house, because he would never move another one.

Now my playing is done on a keyboard since there wasn’t a good space for my spinet piano after one move. So I will probably celebrate World Piano Day with a few tunes on it, but it’s just not the same as that old upright.