RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Learning piano?

From: Melissa Bradford <>
Date: Wed Dec 7 23:41:00 2005

I am so jealous of your daughter, Eli!

I feel forced piano lessons were so destructive to me. I love music, I
have a pretty good ear, and if I had been able to just mess around on
the piano as a child I think I would have learned how to play in a much
more natural and useful way than what actually happened.

Instead I remember many days spent crying at the piano as my parents
forced me to practice, and dreading going to lessons knowing I hadn't
practiced enough. This went on from age 5 to age 17. Yes, I learned
how to read music, I can play some classical songs, but I never learned
anything fun or practical, like how to just sit down and play some
chords to a song in a certain key. Just the idea of playing the piano
now totally stresses me out.

On the other hand, in the past two years my husband has taught himself
to play the bass guitar, and has become a part of two bands - one rock,
and one country. The rock band is just for fun, but the country band, I
have to say, is very good! They just started playing out a few months
ago and have quite a following already. When Jeff auditioned for them,
they had no idea he had only been playing two years. Let me just say
that this amazed me, because not only does my husband work long hours,
but he also has a lousy sense of rhythm, can't carry a tune to save his
life, has no background in music, and doesn't have much of an ear for
music either. (He won't mind me saying this, I used to tell him this
all the time!) I was so skeptical when he made the determination to
learn to play bass and join a band, but he actually did it through a lot
of practice and hard work. He still can't carry a tune, but he plays
amazingly well for having only learned two years ago, I must say.

His rock band wanted someone to play keyboard on a few songs. My
husband thought maybe I could help them out. I tried, but I couldn't do
it. The only way I had ever learned to play was to read the music as it
was written. Just to learn one song, I would have to listen over and
over, figure out the notes, and write it all out, which took so long! I
couldn't just sit down at the keyboard and play the right chords to go
with a song, or be comfortable playing with other musicians. I couldn't
relax and enjoy myself either, because I was too stressed out that I
wouldn't hit all the right notes. All the things that to me would be
really practical and fun to do, I can't do. After 12 years of lessons.
I can't help but think, if I had been able to mess around, teach myself
while listening to my favorite songs on the radio, maybe I wouldn't be a
concert pianist (which, guess what, I'm not anyway) but at least I could
sit down and accompany a rock band.

I canít help but feel that, although I know my parents were
well-intentioned, those forced lessons really crushed something that
might have come naturally and been a joy to me.


-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Eli Roth
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 9:57 PM
Subject: RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Learning piano?

I am so amused by this discussion. My daughter (5-1/2) plays piano --
for about 5-15 minutes at a time, several times a day as she happens to
walk by the piano. I actually have to use loss of piano privileges as
leverage to get anything else done. She does not take lessons and
probably would rebel against any such thing, but she is getting quite
good at sounding out songs she knows. I hope we never get to a point
where I am pushing her to play or where she would need such pushing. I
hope she will get to the point of wanting lessons or, at least, further
guidance about reading music, etc.


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Received on Wed Dec 07 2005 - 23:40:13 EST

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