I come from a very musically inclined family. Mom plays the piano, bringing to the instrument the sounds of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. Dad can play anything - the piano, the saxophone, a little clarinet, the guitar, the drums. Jazz is his specialty. Me, well, I have a little bit of both parents' talent, like my mother's determination to learn a song and father's musical ear to hear the sounds and melodies as they should be, tweaking them to his liking.
Some of my cutest baby photos are of me sitting at the dining room table watching my dad clean his guitar, or those of me as a six year-old standing on a chair with big headphones on my head, my hands banging out a confusion of notes on his keyboard, a huge smile plastered on my face.
My only regret was never taking real piano lessons as a child. "I want to play like Daddy," I always told Mom. Other than high school band, he's never taken a lesson. Determination is evident as I sit in front of Mom's upright piano or Dad's Roland and attempt learn a new song (yes, they both have their own preferred instruments. Mom says the sound of a keyboard does a real piano no justice. She's right).
I've been wanting my own keyboard for a while now. In college I would sneak into the music department at night with the hope of a practice room being unlocked if for no one but me. They kept one door to the building open at all times for the music students. On rare occasions the opera hall would be unlocked, and waiting inside would be a shiny black grand piano, key of ivory I felt meant for only my hands in those still moments. The only other time I played was during weekend visits home or if I lucked up at church to have a few minutes before music practice.
In November Mom called to say Dad had found finally me a keyboard. I knew it must be worth it, because he had been looking for one for a while.
Not just any keyboard would do. He wanted the perfect one for me. It had to be a full-size with 88 keys, a nice grand piano sound and keys that felt weighted - just like his. When Dad said he'd found one, I believed him. It's a Yamaha Portable Grand. The price was affordable too, a steal really, and together the three of us paid on it until it was mine.
Over the weekend the keyboard made it's final journey from Oakman to Dutton. With a few modifications to the layout of my dining room, the keyboard fit nicely against a wall. As Dad tested it out for me every animal in the house, including Linus inquired about it.
I love listening to Dad play. He can take notes out of nothing and make them something. I'm mesmerized by the way his hands can work in unison, touching each key and moving from one octave to the other in harmony. Jazz melodies that I can only dream of are reality when he is around. I could study Dad's piano hands all day and still not soak it all in.
I love to play in chords. My favorite is E minor. Composers Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Brahms all created famous works in the key of E minor. It's a deep, dark chord and key that I find fascinating. It's also the basis for the many songs I like to make up. I too, like Dad, enjoy letting my hands do the playing and my heart do the writing.
My spare time will now be spent with my keyboard. The cats all gather around me and watch. Linus jumps up on the table behind me and seems to listen. I turn the volume up as loud as I want and play until I fall asleep. Sunday I played into the wee hours of Monday morning. When I got up for work the next day, I sat down and played until it was time for me to leave.
Music is a comfort that no one can take from you. I'm thankful that God has given me the ability to play and entrusted me to a set of parents that see the importance of having music in my life. And while I'm no where near perfect on a piano, I can tell that a little practice can, over time, make things perfect.