Piano lessons during your youth is such a tried and true way to have kids involved in music and gain a deeper understanding. It’s almost a rite of passage. When I was a kid nearly everyone had piano lessons, or so it seemed. I bet that’s less true now. Even if this experience is one of monkey see, monkey do, I hope it works out well!
My boys, Jarvie and Giles, took Dalcroze Eurhythmics for 2 years at The Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). My father was on the Board of Trustees there for many years. It’s truly a fine institution.
Dalcroze is a way for people to engage gross motor movements to music according to learned conventions. There is theory added in as well. It is the perfect preparation for playing an instrument, where it all comes together and finer motor movements are required.
I was hoping eurhythmics would help my boys with guitar later on. Guitar seems like such a nice and manageable instrument. But at five, their hands are not big enough to start. I don’t want all the Dalcroze to go the wayside.
Everyone kept saying that piano is the foundation for guitar and all other instruments, so piano it is, at least for now! Funny how a class at three can lead to a whole life style.
Piano is really a perfect addition to their overall education. It involves so many aspects of life. They can learn to listen to music with a more discerning ear, develop a knowledge of a whole other world, they can learn to play and enjoy theory an technique, as well as, have their emotions engaged in all of these experiences. It truly is very rich.
What piano will they play, you ask. Richard, our friend and dog walker, had offered to give us his. Sounded like a great idea at first blush. I could have the kids involved in piano and not take so much risk. I went and took a peak at it and discovered it is in poor repair. It has broken strings. The wood looks a bit frightful. Poor thing has been neglected. It was well loved in its day. It hasn’t been played in 25 years!
So I did some research. First question was where could I have it restored and how much would it cost. I was told that for $1800 I could have his piano moved out of his house, restored and moved to my house, but it’s really just the toss of a coin whether it would hold a tune! At that price, I was well on my way to buying one that is restored, tuned and working well.
Such a kind offer on Richard’s part. I totally appreciate the thought. The boys love Richard and I think they would have treasured having his piano. It just isn’t the path I want to take.
Buying a newly restored one or a new one is truly a risk. But likely a risk well worth taking. You just don’t know if your investment will pay off. You never know if your child will take to it or just want nothing to do with it in short order. I guess nothing ventured, nothing gained.
We got a Baldwin! I bought it from Bill Kap, at Kap’s Pianos, down on Euclid near Superior. He has a wonderful store. He says he is a world class collector of music boxes. He also has organs and music machines with drums and glockenspiel inside something that looks like a player piano. He showed me a few. They are amazing. I will take the boys back to see them, as kind of a field trip, of sorts. Bill is an older man in his mid 80s, who has been working there for 61 years. He son is there to take the reigns when he is ready to leave.
Our Baldwin is a beauty! She sits in the dining room. I hope that will be a good long term choice for her. I kind of like it, because it’s a straight shot from the kitchen sink, where I spend a lot of time. I can just turn my head and check in to see what the boys are up to.
Where to take the lessons? CIM, of course. Fortunately, teachers come up this way and provide lessons in the basement of the Unitarian Church, which is just a few miles away. The boys are totally familiar with that place. We used to hang out in the piano rooms there, when we took Kindermusic classes.
Now we are in the hunt for teachers. Two have been recommended, Andre Kelberg and Ann Castellano. I had been hoping they could have a group lesson, but Dr. Schulze of CIM highly advises against. Richard explains it would be very likely that they would progress at different speeds too. So single lessons with two different CIM teachers.
Getting these boys to practice is going to be a real treat! Nonetheless, we are so looking forward to the experience.
Who knows we might have the next Liberace or Elton John in the house! Even if that is not the case, the experience may help them to have a life long love for piano or music, in general.
Wish us luck with our journey!
Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Surrogacy Coach from Surrogacy Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio