Learning Music

My nana’s old keyboard. It has 5 octaves, all kinds of buttons for all kinds of sounds. It is digital and is over three ft. long. I think somebody put the lettering on to learn it. it is 30 years old and my great-grandma played it until she was 92 or so.


Growing up, it wasn’t just my parents who would get us all into music. As much as my parents would like to think they have voices of angels, they’re wrong. Even though my dad could probably do an awesome metal scream and growl, if he took the time to train his voice. Both of my grandparents on my mom’s side know how to play instruments. My papaw knows how to play the piano and saxophone. My dad also knows how to play the saxophone. So explains my love for the sound of a saxophone! My nana is the one who’s been marching band the longest. She has so many things from her time playing in different school orchestras, yes they had those back in the day! She played the violin, viola, cornette, piano, and trumpet while in her school bands. Technically, my mom played the flute in high school. My Uncle Rick knows how to play both bass and electric guitar, trust me we have the pictures to prove it too! He has expressed to get back into playing recently.  So we’re basically a musical family!

You couldn’t join band until you got into middle school. When we were making arrangements to transfer at the end of fifth grade, my mom thought it would be a good idea to get me into band as well. Since I loved music so much, they thought it would give me something to do and another challenge for me to master. My cousin Kristi was going to sign up for it too, so they thought it would be perfect to get the both of us into the same class. I remember that afternoon so well. I would get out of class maybe 5 to 10 minutes early before everybody else. My mom and nana would come and pick me up from school, this day they were staying a little longer to see what I would be able to play in band. They tried to get me to play the trombone and that was just a disaster! Literally five months earlier, I had my back surgeries so they were trying to see what I thought the strength to do since I was still recovering. I can’t bend my knees very well and so when they tried to get me to do it, there was no use! I couldn’t reach nor could I blow through the damn thingy either. We settled on this keyboard thing that I have no clue what is was. My cousin Kristi got to play the flute.

I remember trying to practice keys with my nana and even back then I used to cry if I didn’t feel comfortable doing something. I was NEVER good at learning or comprehending music notes. We would play little music note games in Elementary and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the ideal person to have on a team. I sucked! I barely got through two practices with my nana before I looked at both and went, I can’t do it. Luckily, they understood and I never had to do it again. I was and still am perfectly fine with that decision. Kristi kept up with her lessons for all three years of middle school, when we entered high school she was in marching band and jazz band. It felt good to know somebody in band. At our school, band was better than the sports program. When I was in eighth grade I decided to sign up for swing choir. I just wanted to see if I’d like it. I mean, at that time singing was kind of new to me. I had this new strong lungs that we’re being crushed by my own spine. I actually had the strength to hold in a breath and go high with it. That was my musical outlet at the time.

When my sister entered middle school, she was put into band too. She got the honor of playing the trumpet. I was a freshman in high school when she started sixth grade. She was doing double duty as she was doing cheerleading as well. She kept up with it until her sophomore year of high school. She and Kristi played in band at Kristi and I’s graduation. It was a family affair! Blondie had a very special gift that was apparently past down by papaw: they can play by ear. She also knows how to play the piano. On some days, we’d hear her play a familiar song in the living room. She would bring her iPod over with her and she’d go and back in finding the right keys and try to play it out. One Christmas, somebody got her own keyboard so she could play around with it. She used it religiously and it would be the reason why I’d be in our parent’s room without any music on just listening to her play. When she was in eighth grade too, she also joined swing choir. We were both sopranos.

I’m pretty sure after some time, Blondie finally returned my nana’s trumpet to her. Yup, she used her exact trumpet! Kristi used my mom’s for some time before getting a new one in which I know she still has. Blondie plays the piano every once in a while. She only does it when everybody’s busy dong something else so they can’t hear her. My nana stopped playing the piano several years, now it’s only my papaw who plays the piano in the living room. He’s been having some trouble with his hands lately, especially the tips of his fingers. He can’t feel if he’s touching the keys or not. It’s really kind of sad, because in all honesty he’s the reason why I love piano music pieces. You won’t hear me listening to Mozart or like that, but more modern music. I always rolling into my choir classes and listening to our director just going into a fit. I could have sat there watching him all day long. I used to sit on my papaw all the time as a kid and will still do it from time to time now. I hope later on in life, we continue to teach our children music and get them as interested as possible!

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