Just for Joy

Posted By on January 21, 2014

I was working in my room one foggy Saturday afternoon. The children were playing in the living room. I heard them playing with the keyboard, listening to the pre-recorded songs in it’s memory bank. Beethoven’s Fur Elise came on more than once. I love that piece. It played over and over, I didn’t mind at all.

I remember wanting to take piano lessons when I was 15. My mom didn’t want to pay for the lessons so I got a part time job at the grocery store down the street. I paid for a month’s worth of lessons but it didn’t last.

Fur Elise started to sound slower. They must have figured out how to change the tempo, I thought.

When I was 19, I took piano for beginners in college. I loved it. When the music department replaced their full sized keyboards at the end of term, I bought one for $400 so I could practice at home. My brother, who was 11 at the time, incidentally, learned to love the piano as well and learned to play ten times faster. Before long, I could just give him sheet music and he would figure it out. That keyboard brought so much music and light into our tenement life.

Fur Elise was now sounding even slower and occasionally making mistakes followed by a correction here or there. I went outside to investigate. My nine year old was sitting in front of the keyboard, carefully memorizing which keys were pressed on the keyboard tutorial screen and then playing it for himself on the keys. Having no back ground in piano playing at all, he would use his left big toe to mark where his left hand needed to move. The sight was endearing.
 Keyboard

“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I like this song.” He said simply.
“Me too.” I said.

What he doesn’t know is that Fur Elise was the first piano piece I had really put my energy into learning since I was 19. Every once in a while, when I would have a piano or keyboard at my disposal, that would be the piece I strive to improve.  I showed him how I remember where my hands go.

Days pass and he continues to get better and better. He can now play the first little movement.

“Would you like me to find you a piano teacher or a piano school, Clayton?”
“Mom, I don’t want to be a professional pianist.”

Of course not. You play because you want to…. because it brings you joy.

I sat down in front of the keyboard when he wasn’t playing with it and started practicing again, Fur Elise, my old friend. I was able to play further than I ever had before. Some parts, the left hand and right hand wanted to do it separately. But that’s okay. To be quite honest, it’s not the most beautiful thing to hear – right now, but it is deeply poignant.

How liberating is it to do something simply because it brings me light and joy. I am in awe of how my children are continually inspiring me. I hope it is mutual.

About The Author

I am a Chinese-American mother of three boys, parenting with the traditions worth keeping from the East and West. I continue to learn new ways of raising a family and myself.

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