Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

That Shoud Have Been a B Flat

One of the most frequently occurring annoying scenes of my childhood went something like this:

I sat at the piano located one floor below my parents.  In our yellow house in Kearns, their bedroom was upstairs while the piano was on the main floor.  When we moved to Draper, their bedroom and kitchen were on the main floor with the piano in the basement.  

My dad went about his business on the upper floor.  (Most memorably, he was in the kitchen.)

I played a sour note on the piano.

Dad called down, "That should have been a B flat..."

I groaned in exasperation that not only did he call me out on my mistake, but that he could pinpoint from a floor away exactly which note I had missed.

It was nearly as annoying as I found him to be when playing pool.  I'm sorry, but when someone insists on sharing with you the mathematical angles they intend to use before sinking a ball into a predicted pocket... on every. single. shot... it really is just annoying.

He would misinterpret my groans as the desire to hear him gloat about exactly how he knew exactly which note I'd missed.  I tuned this part out, but seem to recall it generally having to do with a combination of the fact that he has nearly perfect pitch and some excellent knowledge of music theory on which he could base his Sherlockian deductive reasoning to determine that the note I had missed was the fourth of the scale, meaning I was likely playing in the key of F, because who would miss the fourth in say, the key of C or the key of G... and therefore it was obviously a missed B flat.

Fast forward many years to a family-altering decision Kirk and I made almost a year ago.  Our boys absolutely loved their piano teacher, but she didn't actually have room for both of them, so they were sharing a lesson time slot and getting only a 15 minute lesson each per week.  They were not progressing as rapidly as I had hoped, and even Kirk was noticing that they weren't as good at the piano as he'd expected.  We decided on an option I had sworn never to do: home school piano lessons.

I'm calling it home school with complete respect for those who've decided to pursue this option for their children's entire education and in reference to all the best parts of homeschooling:

  • flexibility
  • pacing specific to each child
  • lessons that fit the values and priorities of the family
I decided against rigid once-a-week lessons for the boys and instead instituted a loose framework in which the boys study piano nearly independently but with my experience nearby.  Basically, I provide the piano books.  The requirement is that they practice for 15 minutes each day or pass off one song, whichever comes first.  This moves the boys through the Bastien books I used to teach from at approximately the same rate as me assigning 4 to 5 songs per week, which is actually one more song that I used to generally assign when I formally taught.  I also provide insight and help when I hear, "Mom, I need help."  Other than that, I stay out of it.


I have definitely been guilty of giving an unsolicited, "That should have been a B flat." 

But in my dad's defense, it turns out it really isn't that hard to know which note Adam is missing.  It really is possible to determine that the note he missed was the fourth note of a major scale, and that he wouldn't have been likely to miss the fourth in the key of C or the key of G.  So obviously he missed a B flat.

Plus he misses B flats nearly every day.