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.