Monday, April 29, 2013

Practice

Ok, kids, here is a big secret: I am very ambivalent about your musical education.

Maybe it isn't a big secret, but I have been trying to keep you in the dark about how much I hated practicing piano.  True, true, you see me practicing whenever I can.  However, when I was your age, I did everything I could to get out of it.

When I had chicken pox, I used the excuse that I had blisters on my hands to get out of practicing for AN ENTIRE WEEK! It was possibly the best infection ever.

Why did I hate it?  It was totally an over kill. I was somehow, destined to become a musician. Perhaps I showed some aptitude, perhaps because my mother wished to live vicariously through me, perhaps because I showed no affinity for the sciences. Anyway, I was suppose to go to conservatory and do something with music.

To get there, I played some piano from age four and on, then switched to violin when I was in first grade, played that as my main instrument until third grade, when piano was added back in. Until, my mother saw the light and let me quit the violin. Hard to say if she let me quit because I was so noncompliant, or because my violin teacher was a pervert. (I am seriously hoping it was the latter. Don't worry, I wasn't actually molested. He was "just" inappropriate, and my dad told him to cut it out.) That is another story for another day.

Anyway, while you both complain incessantly about your 30 minutes of practicing, I was playing FOUR hours of piano and TWO hours of violin time when I didn't have school. Mind you, I had to practice the violin STANDING UP.

That's right. Stop complaining. You don't know how good you have it. My parents never bribed me to practice. I just had to.  You are SO incredibly lucky that you get to exchange iPad time. I know, I know, you have friends who just play the iPad all day long. That is not the point.

I used to practice the scales, arpeggios, repetitive finger exercises for an hour. Then I played Bach for an hour. Then I played either Mozart or Beethoven for an hour. Then everyone else was crammed into the final hour. I practiced from 8 am to noon. No breaks.

Seriously, how did my mother manage to get me to do that?!

After lunch and forced nap time, (which I don't even make you do,) I played the violin for 2 hours, from 2 pm to 4 pm.

Over the summer months, I did this Monday through Saturday. With church on Sunday, that schedule was moved a bit. Everything went to the afternoon.

Of course, I cried almost daily. Thus, my ambivalence. Do I really want to make you cry? Of course not. You are making yourself cry. (Just kidding, kind of...) I want you to enjoy music, because after all, I now really like playing the piano. (Still can't say that for the violin.) I even went on to study music in college. Therefore, I want you to enjoy it! YOU WILL ENJOY IT. On the other hand, playing music isn't all that enjoyable until you are fairly decent at it. I am trying to get you to be decent at it.

I am just trying.

Here is a clip of Mozart's piano sonata, in F major, K. 332, third movement. I am not sure what happened to the taping, I didn't check it when I 'finished.' Maybe I will have to redo this one.
video


Also, for your reference, here is Mitsuko Uchida playing the same piece. You could do much worse for a piano teacher, trust me.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why?

Why am I writing this blog?

I had started blogging when my first child was a toddler- it was fun cataloging my growing family and the trials and tribulations of a first time mother. Then I stopped, mostly because of fear. Fear about what I say on-line can be used against me.

I have been thinking about this fear, is it rational? Is it reasonable? Do I want to live with this self imposed censorship?

As much as I want to say that I have conquered this fear and therefore, I am going to blog without fear! It isn't really why I am writing.

I am writing because I don't want my kids to grow up, or be grown up, without knowing me.

Recently, a college friend, who is pregnant with her fourth baby, is diagnosed with terminal cancer. It is breaking my heart. Her sweet family is going through a storm, their lives are being ripped apart because of these stupid, malignant, evil, cells. I can't imagine the suffering she is going through, how horrifying it must be that she won't get to raise her kids. That the one in her uterus may never really know her.

My mother-in-law died because of cancer just a month before our wedding. I suppose she never really became my mother-in-law, but I do refer to her as mom when I am talking to my husband's family. My kids will never get to know her, actually, I never really got to know her. She was mostly ill when we were dating: I remember her being sick, and then sicker, and then, really, really sick.

Perhaps it is morbid, but one thing I know for sure: No one escapes death or taxes. I am blogging so that my kids, my future kids-in-law, will always have a reference manual to use, in case I am not here.  I have also figured that when I get sick, or die unexpectedly, there won't be time/energy for writing, therefore, I better get going while I am healthy, fairly young, and not senile.

As for taxes, I will try to include some advice about that too.

Perhaps it is controlling, but I figured they can always choose to not read this. Or blogger servers can crash and this blog will be gone forever. As a mother, I can always give my two cents, and it is up to them to decide if they want my two cents.

I plan to write about music, cooking, baking, about giving advice, general management of life, and most of all, the One who created us, the One who loves us, and the One who knows our suffering, because He had died for us.

I also plan on posting something along with my writing, perhaps a video, a recipe, a set of instructions for doing something, general advice, in the least. There will not be do overs in my videotaping- for one thing, I don't have time, also, I am trying to be real. Kids, this is your mother, imperfections and all.

To start, here is a song.

video


Beaches, possibly the best chick flick ever. It also fits with the purpose of this blog: I want someone with a really good memory to tell my progeny about me. I am counting on my friends, at the same time, let me be honest, my neurosis dictates that I also must do this myself.