Thursday, October 4, 2012


My daughter wants to learn
to play the piano.

It is a worthy goal; music is a path to many
wonderful places.

She doesn’t like to practice,

She wrote the names of all the notes on her
keyboard, with a sharpie, on pieces of tape.

She wrote them wrong, and has been playing the notes
a little off.  E follows C which leads to A at the wrong moment.

At practice, after trying, and failing, to fix the error with
another sharpie, we resolved to tear away the tape.

The tape stuck tight.  Refused to budge.  My daughter gave up.
Left to play with the computer.  Said “You finish it.”

I think of the looks the piano teacher gives me,
her suspicions of my lacking parenting skills.

Like a mom trying to be good, I continued, doggedly, to pull at the
shredding scotch tape.  Little “plinks” and “hums” of electronic
keyboard answered my efforts.

It sounded like some frustrated improvisational Jazz.
Coltrane, but without the theory.  Or talent.

I thought about my own music lessons of many years ago.
How I hated to practice.  How I never really did it, but
was good enough to fake it.  To mix with more loyal musicians.  To have fun.
To be in the Symphony.  But always,
at the edge of being revealed:  fake.

Remembered Tchaikovsky.  The victory of the final swell of marching music.

Think about hating to practice anything.
Get the labels wrong.
Jazz.  That’s what it is.

KAW  Oct ‘12