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I started picking out songs by ear on the piano when I was 4 or 5 years old.
My mother didn’t want me to play by ear, but by note, so she forbade me to play on the piano.
I played anyway, when she was out of the house.
When I was 5 years old, she let me begin piano lessons, which I took for seven years.
Today I still love to play, though I play on a keyboard instead of a piano. I play by note and by ear.
I don’t play very often, because it seems like there’s always something else to do. I recently sat down and played a while after work, and I found it relaxing and fun. I'm adding it to my "do more often" list for stress and anxiety relief.
When I was small, I would sometimes stand beside my mother as she played the piano, and I would play the tune along with her in the higher octaves. This semi-biographical poem reflects those times.
By Tina Fariss Barbour
my mother bought with her own money
earned at a third-shift job.
The elephantine piano captured me
as I played my whole notes,
one two three four,
my knot of scales.
But sometimes I stood beside her
seated on the heavy bench and
we played together
her favorite, “Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo.”
She played by ear across the keys,
singing like Leslie Caron,
smiling at me,
my finger following.