Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Music from the past

Last week while I was down in the basement organizing, I found some things I thought I had lost forever.
I thought I had lost my first piano book and the program from my first piano recital. But I found both.

When I was a little girl, I started picking out tunes on our Kurtzmann upright piano. I remember playing “Jesus Loves Me.”
Surprisingly, my mother discouraged my playing. She didn’t want me to play by ear. She wanted me to play by note. She herself could play by ear, but she hadn’t taken lessons long enough to learn a lot and regretted that.
I remember waiting until she went outside to do something like hang out the laundry. I’d run to the piano and plink out a song until she came back in. I thought I was doing this in secret. I found out years later that she, of course, heard me but didn’t say anything.
She talked with a local piano teacher. I was 5 years old, and this teacher usually waited to begin lessons once a child started school. But she said she’d see what I could learn.
So I started lessons. And I kept taking them until I was 12, when I started organ lessons for a year.

I had to write out the letters for each of the notes. 

My teacher wrote her instructions for me right on the book. A circle meant to practice the piece. She marked through it once it was played well enough to move on.

I had to memorize this one. I also had to memorize my piece for the recital.

A week shy of my sixth birthday, I played in my first recital. I played a song called “Voice of My Heart.” I don’t have that sheet music anymore, but I can still play a little of it by ear.
I did a Google search but couldn’t find the song. I don’t know the composer or anything about it.

Me on our front porch before we left the house for the recital. I remember I hated having to wear socks with sandals.

Some of the songs the other piano students played that evening in May 1969 were these:

“Hi Lili Hilo”
“Gentle On My Mind”
“Love Is Blue”
“Clair de Lune”
Mozart’s “Concerto in C Major”
“Beach Ball Boogie”
“Star Dust”
“Alice Blue Gown”

Lovely music from the past. I’m so glad I found a reminder.

Do you play a musical instrument? Which ones?


  1. I love this post, Tina. Not long ago I was thinking about my piano recital. I just wouldn't practice and my parents were more worried about it than I was! I was wondering where that music ever went. Tossed, no doubt, decades ago. But I'd sort of like to see it now!

  2. i never learned to read music so glad you did. and learned to play, too. :) i could plunk out a song by ear but surely nothing musical. :)

  3. How neat that you have these memories. I always wanted to take piano lessons, but there was only so much money to go around - my parents gave me the choice between horseback riding lessons or piano lessons. You can guess which one I picked...

  4. "Hi Lilli, Hi lo" is a song I always sang to my kids. I have no idea. It is actually very melacholy...but I always liked it :). How awesome you have all these mementos! I seem to throw out EVERYTHING. I wish I had kept more :(

  5. oh my you are so lucky to be musically talented! My Mom wanted to play the piano (my Dad did by ear) so she put me in piano lessons and I took them from the time I was 6 to 9, until Mrs Maskell told my Mom she believed that she was wasting her money. And she was...I do love your music sheets, with the marks, sweet memories.

  6. i sort of play a bit of the piano (Grandma Ruby had a piano but no one played it, i just played around being silly) ... but very little. i played a flute (but i guess it was called a recorder when i was in school) my mouth sings ... i have always thought that was a music instrument ... you are too cute on that front porch as a kid. looks like or reminds me of a confirmation dress or something along those lines? my Dad played the clarinet. i wonder if he still has it ... when i was a kid it was always under the stairs in storage. ( :

  7. I don't play anything but have always wanted to.

  8. I don't play anything but I can play a couple of short songs on the piano. Great post, Tina, thanks for sharing this wonderful trip down memory lane!

  9. what a fun find! i wish i still had my old music books. when i was little i had an old organ...i remember the switch to turn it on would sometimes shock me so i had to be very careful about it. one of my favorite songs to play from my music book was alouette...which is kind of funny to me now because i was adopted and only learned of my french ancestry when i became an adult!

    i love the photo of you all dressed up for your look so pretty, even if you had to wear socks!

  10. The only musical instrument I play is my iPod. I love that you found those pieces of music. I am not sure what makes it so appealing but I love the look of sheet music. Love your dress for your recital. And it looks like a nicely eclectic list of music for the recital.

  11. What lovely pieces of your past to have.

    I played the flute in elementary school, but had trouble reading the notes, so played our recital from ear. I want to properly learn how to play the piano, but can play from ear most of the time ... well, Christmas music anyway!

  12. I don't play but I took piano lessons when I was younger.

  13. I never took lessons, but taught myself to read music when playing our organ at home. My mom is/was a wonderful organist -- but the organ was sold years ago.

  14. so sweet, i love the little notes you kept!! i played the guitar, no lessions, just for fun!!

  15. First - in the mountains many of us wore socks with sandals - when i moved to the Midwest - people thought it was really strange . . . I stopped wearing sandals. (grin)

    How cool is it that you found these treasures.

    yes, I played piano and guitar - it's what i did for a living until my fingers went on sabbatical (r. arthritis)

    My parents were performing artists - and forbid me to enter the profession - SO - it was the ONLY thing i was ever going to do. It took a "Act of God" - to cause me to reconsider . . giggle.

  16. What a lovely trip down memory lane!

    I never learned an instrument. I bought an electric piano some years ago and worked at it for a while, but didn't stick with it. I sang in school, though, and I've often thought lately that I don't have nearly enough music and singing in the house as I need. This is a great reminder.

  17. Oh what a great find you are so lucky to be able to play by ear that is a gift but your Mother was wise abut the reading of music, it is nice to know both. Oh you look just beautiful even with those socks:) Great memories. Hug B

  18. Such a sweet remembrance and how special that you found all your piano music. I played an organ by ear (hymns from church), but I never learned to play an instrument. My daughter plays the viola and earned First Chair a few times in high school and middle school. Love the pic of you in that dress. I can just imagine your horror at having to wear socks with sandals. :)


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