My mom was pretty talented musically when she was younger. She played the piano for the Glee Club back when she was in high school. At some point she also started playing the organ from some of the churches in Elizabeth City too. As a result of her love of the piano and the organ it was only natural that her children should also play.
This is where the trouble started. While I love all kinds of music. I never had the patience to practice the piano like you needed to if you were going to become proficient at playing…. particularly if that was going to interfere with my playing around time. But I did like the fact that I got out of class for a half hour once a week for my piano lesson.
Mrs. Sharp, my piano teacher would come out to the school and would have 30 minute sessions with a bunch of us one on one. I always liked getting out of class but I was never prepared like I should have been. This was because my mother had to threaten me within an inch of my life to make me practice. I remember sitting at that piano for hours at the time… refusing to do anything, just because I didn’t want to do it…. This was also one of the early struggles between my mom and me.. if you want to see the big struggles check out “The worst day of my life..” blog.
As I mentioned earlier my lack of practice very easily translated into my lack of ability to play. And this led to one of the most terrifying experiences in the life of Mrs. Sharp… a piano recital which included me on the program!
The last year that I was a student of Mrs. Sharps was the year that I had to play my most complicated piece. Complicated here means something slightly more complicated than chop sticks… but that’s about it.
I remember the song well.. the name of it was “Little Dog Boogie” by Wesley Schaum. It is based on where oh where has my little dog gone. There actually is a video of a girl playing it on YouTube if you want to check it out. But anyway, back to the recital.
I was pretty nervous because I could barely get through the thing even though it wasn’t very long or complicated at all. And I could tell Mrs. Sharp felt the same way. As I approached the piano to perform in front of all of Mrs. Sharp’s piano students and their parents, I suddenly felt at ease…. like this wasn’t going to be too bad.
So I sat down at the piano. Oh, I failed to mention, you had to do this without the sheet music… so I’m just kinda staring straight ahead. I am just getting starting when all of a sudden my mind goes blank. I literally couldn’t remember a single note I was suppose to be playing. Somehow my hands just seemed to take over and just started improvising something.. I have no clue what but just as quick as it left, I found my way again and actually finished the piece as it was written.
As I stood to take my bow and leave, I could see the total shock on Mrs. Sharp’s face…. and my mom’s too. Whatever it was I did, I somehow managed to pull it off without anyone else there knowing I had messed up.
I was so glad to finally be through with that…. and shortly after that, we moved back to Elizabeth City so I finally wiggled my neck out of that piano noose. And now, some 40+ years later…. I kinda wish some days I hadn’t.