Thank you, my friends, for all of the lovely and encouraging comments about Francie's piano recital. We are pretty proud of how hard she works to play the piano.
I think she had mixed emotions about her recital being posted on her old mom's blog, and I have realized that I need to start asking her permission to share some things about her life. I genuinely don't think she minds me writing about her, especially considering how she'll laugh and yell out "That's for the blog!" when something hilarious/disgusting/mortifying/crazy happens here at home. But I can see that I owe her the courtesy of asking now.
One one hand she was a little embarrassed to know that people could watch her play the piano (even though no one could actually see her, thanks to some stellar videography).
On the other hand, I could tell that she was thrilled to know that we thought so much of her recital that we shared it with our friends. She felt grown up, and at nine and three-fourths years of age, she is all about finding things that make her feel grown up (like perfume and lip balm) in a house full of little kids.
To answer a question from Colleen in the comments, Francie has been taking lessons for three years this month. When she started we didn't own a piano, but we had an electric keyboard. It worked out fine for a while, but when we saw that she had a knack for music, we knew we would have to get a real piano.
Francie also started playing the flute in the school band this year, and next year she says she wants to add the glockenspiel to her repertoire. Well sure, doesn't everyone leap directly from the flute to the glockenspiel?
I guess I shouldn't talk. I am the woman who has only ever played one instrument in her life -- if by "instrument" you mean "cowbell in my high school band."
Admit it: you've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. (Oh, Christopher Walken, you slay me).
Coming up next in her performance schedule is her school's spring show on Tuesday night. It is billed as a "musical comedy in one act," and she will be playing the Mexican Hat Dance on her recorder while her classmates dance.
And let me tell you, there is nothing like hearing four bars of Mexican Hat Dance played seven thousand times on a recorder. Really, nothing like it.
All that aside, I have to say that music lessons have been a great thing for Francie. Not only has she discovered a love of music and a talent for it, but it has taught her discipline and you know what they say about music instruction helping with math and other subjects? It's all true.
Another plus? Francie can help me with my choir music now. I can sing, but reading music is not my strong suit, as evidenced by my choice of instrument for the school band.
I would be lying if I said that I didn't feel a happy glow when I see my child glance over my choir music and then begin to play it, or when I see her in church with the hymnal open on her lap "playing" the song.
I'll have to bear all these benefits in mind because lately Fiver has been saying that he wants to take piano lessons. (Are you ready for that, Mrs. S?)
I'm not starting him for a little while, and who knows how long he'll want to continue, but I won't discourage him from it either.
Fiver is musical, but in a very different way than Francie. Maybe a musician can explain it better than me, but Fiver seems to approach music from a purely mathematical aspect. Does that make sense?
He has excellent timing, and I hate to even say this out loud, but if he can learn to tolerate the noise, he might make a great drummer. His count is perfect.
He also has a lovely voice, with good pitch, and he sings quite a bit at home, but he really dislikes singing with other people. His voice immediately takes on a very flat tonal quality and he covers his ears while he's singing with others.
You can only hear his real voice when he sings alone, and you can only hear him sing alone if he thinks you aren't listening. You have to sneak up on him and catch him unaware. It's like trying to catch a musical leprechaun or something.
Francie approaches music from a much more emotional place. You can hear it in her dynamics when she's playing. You can hear it in her singing. You can even see it -- when she plays something jazzy, she moves her body at the piano bench. We like to say she's gettin' her Stevie Wonder on.
Seeing them makes me wonder what musical qualities Sally and Bun will develop. I have a feeling that Sally will be able to shake a mean tambourine at the very least, so maybe Rob and I should start saving for an old multi-colored school bus now.
Hey, college doesn't pay for itself, pretty babies . . .