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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

fading in

I played the piano
last evening
after a long break.

I suddenly remembered
Peter's Beatles
music books upstairs.

I have rarely played anything but classical or church music, from my mom's books.

We have Lesley's piano, since she has no room for it in her NYC apartment. Maybe because she is coming home for a long Memorial Day weekend I wanted to warm it up.

So before the "American Idol" finale last night I played "Across the Universe." My playing was pretty awful. I'll keep practicing; I'd like to memorize it.















I am happy both our kids are musical, taking after my mom, who was a concert pianist, well she was trained to be, but her "concerts" ended up being the accompaniment for singing at church. (That's her little picture on the piano, below.) She taught me to read music and tried to teach me to play piano, but I was lazy. And there's just something about a mom trying to teach her daughter, a certain resistance exists.

I want to congratulate another musical young woman, Abigail Wirbel, who is graduating from high school. She is Loring's beautiful daughter, and she plays guitar and sings. Loring and I went to high school together until I graduated 34 years ago. (He graduated the following year.) In fact we only lived a couple of blocks from each other. I'm so glad we reconnected in blogworld.

Here's to musical children and parents! Here's to music!


27 comments:

Ginnie said...

Ahhhh, yes, Ruth! What a legacy we were given. I can't tell you how many times I wish I had learned to play the piano, from Mom or anyone. You learned more than I did. And Susan learned for us all!

Loring Wirbel said...

Thanks so much for the kind words for Abby, Ruth! She was in a vocalist recital over the weekend and sang Sixpence None the Richer's "Kiss Me." She apologized for a sore throat but still had a better timbre than half the room - but then, that's just a boastful parent's perspective.

Now, in Peter's case, it reminds me of the record-store guy in town whose daughter is Tammy Ealon, lead singer of Dressy Bessy. He just says, "I shuffle music and she's the Euro pop-star I always dreamed of being. That's vicarious living!"

Ruth said...

Well you do sing, Boots! Do you ever wish you were in a choral group? You have such a good strong alto voice. And now D is introducing you to all that rock and roll you missed in the 1960s and 1970s. :)

+++++

Loring, I doubt it is just bias. Does she plan to compete with her voice?

It's such joy to listen to our children. I don't know if it's vicarious for me, although I think I would have liked some sort of performance art, like acting. But I just love standing at the stage, closing my eyes, and listening to him play Hendrix or his own improvisations.

Sandy said...

What a cool post. I wish I could have heard you play. And wow, your mom was a concert pianist, how cool.

My mom could play by ear and I got that from her but I've not really developed it. We have a piano I hardly ever touch anymore.

I must be wired different than most, I have tried to learn how to read notes and my brain refuses to do it, but I can hear a song and pick out the melody and that's about it.

Beautiful photos.

Anet said...

This was wonderful for many reasons. I love the Beatles! and the piano even though I don't play. My daughter takes piano at LCC. She really wants a piano.
And the part about the resistance of being taught by your mom. I missed out on how to sew as a teenager, I had other plans at the time;) But luckily my mom is with me and is now teaching me. Bless her heart for waiting for me to be ready, at 40 something years old! lol...Enjoy your weekend with your daughter Ruth! We are headed up North to see my sister and her family.

Mrs. M. said...

Wow, I have a myriad of thoughts at this moment....

my conversation with G'ma about not being able to teach her/my own children

my mom "inviting" you to sing with her while you were in college at Trinity...my memories are of Aunt Ruth singing ;)

G'ma's piano, and the porcelain birds from her, sitting in my living room in the spot they had in Grand Ledge, as my own daughters play...without their own lessons as, alas, they have their own mother who teaches...

Ruth said...

Sandy, I have that kind of brain about the technical aspects of photography. I "play by ear" - or by eye I suppose. My mom always said you have to have the straight technical knowledge before you can veer off into the ramblings. But I don't think she felt that way about playing by ear. I think that's a wonderful gift, and I know some in my own family who have mastered it beautifully. I was utterly uninterested in playing these past 10 or 20 years! And suddenly I felt a little openness to it last night, and I stepped in. Maybe that will happen to you sometime. But it has to come from inside, doesn' it?

Ruth said...

Anet, the Beatles are uniquely talented. My love for "Across the Universe" was rekindled by Michael Johns in this season's "American Idol." How cool is it that this crosses generations now. I just love that. Wow, Autumn studies piano and is an ace photographer too. Many talents. And that is SO cool about learning to sew from your mom - now. I think I'd be a better student now, if Mom were still alive and she had the patience. Thank you, I know we will have so much fun with Lesley, and I hope you also have a great time "up North" with your sister's family. Where does she live?

+ + + +

Mrs. M., so did Grandma say how reluctant her own children were to practice? And oh dear, picturing myself in that little choir loft at Wilmot Rd., those were the days, eh? Remember that little chorus book we put together and I drew the front?? How very sweet that you have Grandma's bird statuettes on your piano, her piano. What a treasure that you have that piano, I'm so happy for you. Lots of banging on that by me, maybe it will tell you some stories.

Anet said...

Ruth, My sister lives in Cadillac, MI

BouBou's said...

Wonderful post. :-)

I really like that second photo, too.

A.

Ruth said...

Anet, driving through Cadillac means I'm north, and that is ALWAYS a good thing, usually on the way to Traverse City.

+ + + +

Thanks, BouBou!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth, I hope the sounds of the notes filled up all the little spaces within you and made you feel cozy and tucked in... and it took you away for a short time to a magical place...

Ruth said...

Thank you, Gwen. I think that is coming, when my playing begins to sound better, ha. But the magical place is calling me.

lesleyanne said...

this makes me even MORE excited to come home and play! i'm actually bringing my piano books that you mailed here, so that i can play my favorite beethoven and clementi.

i am patiently awaiting the cab driver to pick me up in 20 minutes, i absolutely cannot WAIT to be home with you all. it is in my blood. flowing through my every vein.

i lov e yo u.

Sandy said...

One could never tell you have a "block" so to speak, about the technical aspects of photography. Your photos are done so well.

s

SwedeHart said...

Oh Wow! I haven't been to your site in so long- and now it's new and improved! I love what you did with the place:D How synchronistic. I just purchased a cello and am learning to play! I looooove it! It's so yummy to my soul. So easy to play for a beginner. I purchased a piano years ago, and it was so difficult- I couldn't even master one song. My guitar has been gathering dust- hard to compete with a classical guitarist when all you wanna do is play beattles and sing at the top of your lungs. How do you have time to work and blog? Nothing new on my site.

Ruth said...

Wesrey! As I write this you are home, upstairs asleep. All is well.

+ + + +

Thank you, Sandy. Tricks and mirrors.

+ + + +

SwedeHart!! Wait, who are you again?? Hehe. How wonderful to see you back again. I hope the semester was good! Oh, a cello! Their sound is very soulful, as you say, just takes me up into the mountains. I was listening to harp music the other day and was moved by that as well. Something about strings is deep and full of longing. I'll keep checking your blog to see if you post anything. So glad you stopped by and that I had posted about Grandma. Love you!

Ruth said...

And SwedeHart, I meant to thank you for commenting on the new look. You're the first to notice and say so. :)

Ruth said...

D'oh! I keep forgetting to write everything. :| SwedeHart, blogging is a joy for me, a creative expression that I look forward to. I take photographs out of joy, writing is a joy, and putting them together in a space where I can instantly publish and interact with nice people is never a chore! I get up early in the morning too.

SwedeHart said...

So many joys, so little time!!!! Our camera is busted, so pictures come not easy these days. But, I took some with the company camera yesterday and I'll see if I can pull some of those pictures off for my own personal use.

You're welcome- you deserve the praise!

Ruth said...

Oh no! Too bad about your camera. I hope you can replace/repair it soon.

laura said...

It must be so very wonderful to be musical and I wish I wish I were! I used to sing Herman Hermits songs--unbidden!--for my parents guest when I was little; allegedly I wasn't bad, but shyness and self-consciousness overtook me soon after. I always wanted to play the French horn or the cello: just a dream! Or maybe I should delete the "just" ...

Ruth said...

It's never too late, I think, Laura. If you have an ear for music, maybe ou could start an instrument. Mostly I "play" music on the CD player.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Ruth, post a you tube video of you playing, I love Across the Universe, play it on guitar, one of my fav acoustical songs to play next to Blackbird, such unique chords and sounds.

Ruth said...

Ha, well Bob, if I get good enough, maybe I will . . . if you will. . . :D

Don said...

I missed the concerto as I was roaming the farmyard. I am ready for warm weather so we can open all the windows, and these secret concerts will find their way across the airwaves! I love the many memorized pieces that come flowing out as if learned yesterday. I can't wait to sing Beatles songs at the top of my voive with you!

Ruth said...

I have a long way to go, Don, especially since I forget to practice. When you sing at the top of your voive (!) I'll stop playing and listen to you through the window. Then you'll stop because the playing stopped. We will be a dandy duet.