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Boogie days

Piano_lesson_3 This weekend was piano recital time for our family, and probably the opening of the official season. (It seems to coincide with turkey hunting season. Coincidence? Well, yes.)

Let's talk turkey about piano recitals. Of course it's fun to see and hear your own children play their pieces. It's always a bit nerve-wracking, thinking they might really blow it on Fur Elise, or perhaps even Gummy Bear Boogie. Now I understand why Pete Sampras' mother never could attend his matches -- she couldn't handle the pressure.

But while it is fun to hear your own child, listening to the other kids play can make you start channeling Simon Cowell and thinking, "This is 40 minutes of my life that I'll never get back."

And the other families must feel the same way listening to our kids. In fact, especially our kids. Not only do we have three children who each play a couple of pieces and duets, I always a duet with the teacher. So that's a total of about nine pieces just from our family. Who are we, the Von Trapps?

I'm always concerned that at the punch line (the line with cookies and punch, that is), the other families are swallowing a lot of resentment toward us along with their Lorna Doones.

Yet there is something inspiring about seeing a room full of young children with nice clothes and (mostly) combed hair, proudly playing their pieces, and doing their cute little bows at the end.

It is also a miracle that piano teachers are able to teach kids, especially in this day of instant gratification and electronification, to sit in front of a mechanical instrument and work through the intricacies of reading music, then learning the notes of the keyboard. It always makes me feel hopeful that another generation will carry on the tradition of this beautiful art, even if it means I have to sit through Pop! Goes the Weasel for the umpteenth time.


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