Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Piano Lesson from my Mother

Most of you know that I took classical piano lessons for 10 years. My mom had taken lessons and played when she was growing up and she wanted one of her children to take it up. Sheryl played the flute and Adam played the clarinet. The responsibility of playing the piano was handed down to me. It was something my mother wanted and I really liked it so I gladly obliged. I was no prodigy by any means, but I did well at the piano. It was something that came naturally to me. I never performed before an audience other than close friends and family, and that was good enough for me. I had no desire to play on stage.

When I was in my preteen years, I was taking lessons every week with Mrs. Sellen, the wife of our school's music teacher. I was a typical kid and hated practicing. I practiced just enough that Mrs. Sellen would advance me to other more difficult pieces for the next week..

One specific memory which has haunted me throughout these years involved Mom and the piano. Please indulge me while a share it for the first time.

Mom still played the piano from time to time, mostly when I was not around and at school. I came upon her playing one day, trying to relax. She was playing one of her favorites, "Fur Elise" by Beethoven.

Mom was playing and making mistakes. She was getting visibly frustrated with herself. She finally got through the song and noticed me watching. I said that I can play it and proceeded to take over the piano and play the song from heart.

She grew quiet, watched me play, and gave me a forced smile. Mom got up and left the room abruptly. I continued playing, not even realizing until years later that she had become so upset, albeit quietly. I didn't realize that my actions had hurt her. For some reason, I did not forget that afternoon and it always lingered in the back of my mind.

I was playing the piano the other evening and kept stumbing over a Sonatina by Clementi, a rather simple but lovely piece of music. I was forgetting keys, and my fingers kept tripping up over each other. I grew frustrated and realized that I don't play as well as I used to when I was a kid. Then it hit me, I felt the same frustration that my mother did some 30 years ago but I didn't have a naive child next to me pointing it out. I felt regret and remorse on how I had behaved as a young boy. I didn't realize that I had inadvertantly hurt her.

Wow, Mom, three decades later and even after you have passed, you are still teaching me lessons of life. Now I know why that memory haunted me all those years. Some lessons cannot be learned until years later.

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