Boundbytheword Blog

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New dog, old trick February 24, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 4:18 PM
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Each week, I watch and listen as my kids take their music lesson with the fabulous Albert. I thought perhaps I’d pick it up myself just from watching. After all – I hear what they hear. I watch their finger placement and direction that he gives them, so why wouldn’t I pick it up too?

It doesn’t work that way – or at least not for me. It’s likely my ADD, although I can say with absolute certainty that many, many (and I’ll give it one more in case you didn’t understand the numbers I envisioned here) MANY musicians and artists do in fact have some form of mental illness. ADD, ADHD, OCD, depression…the list goes on and on. In fact, having some form of mental illness in the arts community just makes you more interesting. Adds that “quirky” factor. So maybe I can’t use my lack of concentration or focus on the teachings as an excuse for why I’m not learning a darn thing when I eavesdrop in on the lesson. But I can tell you this – when he starts to talk about frets and half notes, chords, timing, blah blah blah, it’s only the blah blah that I catch.

I’m immensely impressed with both of my children. They know something I don’t know and I find that amazing. Considering how shocked and amazed I am about it, I guess I’m a know it all, but it feels bizarre all the same.

When Albert rambles off rules or whatever you want to call them, he asks – “Does that make sence?” Yup, they reply. But in my mind, I keep thinking – they don’t know what he’s talking about. And that’s because I don’t know what he’s talking about. He lost me after the second blah. They’re bluffing. Telling him what he wants to hear. Full of bull ka-ka.

“Okay, so show me,” he’ll say. Or, “so, what would come next then?” And in that moment, I always feel a little sorry for them. Their cover is going to be blown. Egg on their face. I ready my sympathetic smile.

And as it happens, I end up with egg on my face, because they get it. Every time.  It’s like they’re speaking a different language that I didn’t teach them. Truly bizarre.

Last night, Lainey asked about the pedals at the bottom. She asked last week too, and at that time Albert had said he’d show her later. So she asked again this week. Albert pulled the lid (I know, music lovers are probably going to say “a baby grand doesn’t have a lid!”) But whatever. He takes off the lid and spends five or six minutes explaining how the pedals work with the keys and the strings. She is engrossed, takes it all in and then gets back to the lessons, curiosity satisfied. In the moment I thought to myself – she’s wasting his teaching time on this instead of practicing – but shame on me. She was learning. And to boot – Albert went five minutes past her lesson time in the end so she got her pretty little fingers worth of ivory time too.

Did I tell you how much I adore him?

The best part of last night – when Lainey played “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends” on piano, he picked up the guitar and accompanied her. When Sam played Ringo’s Theme on the guitar, he accompanied on the piano. It sounded amazing and the kids beamed because it actually sounded like music. Good music. He also had them run through the songs they composed themselves because “he really loved those ones”. Which = kids beaming again.

The lessons may sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher – all blah blah blah to me, but it’s still music to my ears.

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8 Responses to “New dog, old trick”

  1. Albert sounds like a wonderful teacher. I resented all the practice I had to do as a child (upto 2 hours a night for voice, piano and elocution,) but if it wasn’t for those lessons I wouldn’t be able to speak in front of a crowd now, so they were invaluable. Sounds like your kids lessons are so much fun and Albert ensures they do really cool things as part of their learning that it really is a win-win!

  2. deepamwadds Says:

    It seems our children have the same very cool teacher… Ben adores him, too. I don’t go near his lessons, cuz’ man, they’re riffin’ and I’m not cool. But that’s fine with me, because I get the songs played to me alone afterward. Bliss.

    • Really? How weird! Albert is very cool, but not in any traditional way – the new cool – quirky, artsy, open. I
      More importantly – are you reading this from your writing retreat in Costa Rica???? How is it – wonderful? I heard from Dawn that everything was amazing. When you you get back from the second week?

  3. Dale Long Says:

    To quote my all time favorite story teller,

    “It doesn’t matter what they say in the papers
    ‘Cause it’s always been the same old scene.
    There’s a new band in town
    But you can’t get the sound from a story in a magazine…
    Aimed at your average teen…
    …Hot funk, cool punk, even if it’s old junk
    It’s still rock and roll to me.”

    There is nothing sweeter than one’s own children enthralled in learning, whether they know it or not. I could listen to my girls sing all day long.

    There is something about watching music being taught that makes you want to learn, isn’t there?

    • I couldn’t agree more Dale. And I’m also a huge fan of your favourite story teller. Has he put out anything recently – like in the last 10 years? Where did he go? Brilliant singer and songwriter.

  4. Witnessing the development of competency in our children is truly a joy!

    • Agreed Sandra. I look forward to Thursday night music lesson just to feel like I’m a decent parent, and I’m not doing anything other than driving them there and coughing up the cash! But I’ll take any chance I can get to feel like I’m doing something right when it comes to parenting!


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