One Guitar Makes a Dream Come True

For those of you who know I’m working on a piece that I don’t want to write, this is not that piece, but it’s coming soon. Hopefully you won’t feel flooded with posts.

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I’m a lover of music. For as long as I can remember, music has played a major role in my life. Classical, pop, oldies, show tunes, blue grass, hymns, hip hop, country, big band… in general, I can find songs from any genre with which I can connect. But for as much as I enjoy listening to music, I love making music a gazillion times more.

Over the years, life has revolved around piano, violin, marching band, musical, and choir practices, even into my adult years. I began piano lessons in kindergarten and playing has brought me immense joy and a deep sense of fulfillment. It’s one of the best ways for me to express myself and also to challenge myself. (Rachmaninoff how I love you, even though I still don’t know how to spell your name.)

I’m sure no one will be shocked when I say that ever since the births of my children, I have longed for them to show interest in making music. Much to my chagrin, Alice showed very little interest in music in her younger years. She didn’t gravitate to singing like I remembered enjoying singing as a young child. Kindergarten, first and second grades came and went, and she showed no signs of wanting to pick up an instrument even though many of her friends already had.

The problem is I’m an action girl. Whenever I have a reasonable solution to a problem, I’m all in. Waiting is not my game; patience is not my virtue. So it took all manner of will power not to force strongly encourage my girl to begin an instrument. Maybe one of the only reasons I was able to stay relatively calm was because Ian definitely showed more musical interest from the get go than Alice did.

But last year, it finally!!! happened. Alice began expressing interest in playing piano. I was ecstatic and started looking for a teacher. The problem is I’m also semi-cheap when I want to be.  I had years of playing experience as well as all of my music books from beginner on up, and we were going to pay someone to teach my child the basics plus buy all new books?

After much debate, Daniel and I decided that I would teach the basics, that the worst that could happen was the child-student-parent-teacher relationship would fail and I would have to find a “real” teacher.

Well, we grossly miscalculated the worst possible scenario. I can say this because the worst possible scenario did happen. The child-student-parent-teacher relationship exploded, and in the end Alice no longer wanted anything to do with piano. In essence, I had killed my own dream, no one to blame but my-own-cheap-self.

Again, I wanted to demand that Alice continue with a different teacher, but Daniel duct taped my mouth shut encouraged me to wait it out even as I resigned myself to full mourning.

This summer brought new hope as Alice had the opportunity to start an instrument at school. Once again, I longed for the positive effects of peer pressure as her friends chose instruments to study, but to no avail. Actually she did express fleeting interest in about five different instruments, but couldn’t pick one, so we didn’t push. By this time I had learned to keep my mouth shut… tight, because I’m Mom. No more explanation needed.

But wait… about the same time, Ian offered a glimmer of light as he began asking to play the guitar. To be honest, I gave it no serious thought at first. Why would he be interested in guitar? Did he even know what it sounded like? He couldn’t even pronounce “guitar” correctly, but he kept insisting.

By November, he had full-blown guitar fever, exactly the type of desire I desired from a child beginning an instrument. YES!!! My heart sang!

For Christmas, Ian received the cutest (smallest) guitar I’ve ever seen and started lessons. My dream of at least one child picking up an instrument is renewed. I love hearing him strum the open strings over and over and over again, and even more so the squeaks as he learns to pick. Contrary to what the picture below portrays, we’re only a couple weeks into lessons, but he’s still 100% excited.

brand new

Daniel and I have been playing guitar as well. I’m a total beginner learning right along with Ian. Daniel is a bit more advanced and has started practicing scales and exciting things like that.

But it only gets better! I had been hoping peer pressure might launch Alice’s musical interest; however, I had underestimated the power of sibling competition. To make a long story a little shorter, Alice has re-started piano lessons and has been heard proclaiming “I love to play piano.” Who would have thought that one tiny (literally) guitar would bring us so much music!

Alice on piano

And then the other Sunday, my heart liquified at Ian’s church-time drawing. There are no words.

Ian's notes

I know not all of my dreams will come true. I feel that pain as I mourn many of my own deep desires that will never be. And I know that even if some of my dreams temporarily do come true, they aren’t guaranteed to last. Who knows if I’ll still have two kids interested in instruments next year at this time.

But for right now, I’m going to celebrate this tiny part of a dream come true.