I learned to play piano as a child, though using the word “learned” might be stretching things. I wasn’t willing to practice – probably because I didn’t like the music I was being asked to learn. As an adult I understand the importance of the musical tradition, but back then I might have been a lot more motivated if I was shown how to play pop songs instead of classical compositions. I kept at it for a few painful years, then quit. I suspect my parents were relieved.
That experience coloured how I dealt with my children when it came to music lessons. Both of them were exposed to musical instruments at school, but the desire to play really didn’t take hold of them. I didn’t push it either, remembering how much I hated practicing and the conflicts that caused with my parents. I was 47 when I finally decided to learn to play an instrument, the guitar. I’ll never be a great guitarist, I started too late. My fingers won’t do what I want them to. Come to think of it, they wouldn’t do what my piano teachers wanted either. Maybe I just have unmusical fingers. But I have fun with it, and the guitar is a lot more portable than lugging a grand piano with me everywhere.
I thought today I would let the pictures do the talking, in memory of my failed attempts to become a pianist, just various keyboard instruments from the Musical Instruments Museum in Brussels.