A Precious Gift


From my parents I received a special gift

in Massachusetts and later in Colorado:

piano lessons.  Expectations were to

to practice one hour of daily.


Our parents knew that music would

last a lifetime and be food for the soul.

Simultaneously spoken and unspoken,

music had a powerful impact on me.


My three sisters and I learned to be

organized and how to practice.  As the

eldest, I was awakened at 5 AM to

practice one hour before school.


Grumblings soon arose that my piano

practice disturbed my sisters who wanted

more sleep.  My Dad created a clever solution

by making a piece of wood to hold down the middle


pedal and thus dampen the sound.

Soon the decision was made to

purchase a second piano.  Later

one of my sisters studied violin in


addition to piano.  Summers were

filled with music emanating from

our open windows.  Daily.  Hours long.

Weekly lessons.  Recitals too.  Our


parents realized that starting children early

with music lessons is important.  We

instinctively knew that we could play

well.  We had high expectations. Practicing


long hours was a given.  We applied the same

principles to school and college studies.  We can

still sight read and play for enjoyment.

Music remains a pleasure to this day.


This entry was posted in music lessons, piano, practicing piano, violin and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to A Precious Gift

  1. Darlene says:

    A wonderful gift indeed.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Darlene, your comment is so appreciated. Many thanks. Did you also receive the gift of music? Enjoy the weekend. ox

      Liked by 1 person

      • Darlene says:

        In a way, although I did not take music lessons. We lived on a farm with no music teachers nearby. But my parents loved music and the radio was always on. (We didn’t have a TV for most of my childhood) I believe the gift they gave me which I treasure was the gift of storytelling. Wishing you a wonderful weekend as well. xo

        Liked by 2 people

      • Darlene, thank you for the comment. Your parents also gave you the gift of listening which led to the your reading and writing. Storytelling is a precious art form. My mother had the gift of gab and wrote like her Irish ancestors. I always marveled at her poetry. We also had no television until later. In retrospect, I didn’t miss much. When people take time to talk to one another, that is a most precious gift. Be well. oxox

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A precious gift, indeed! 💞 One that keeps giving in so many ways.


  3. Your practice has rewarded many people.

    My brother and I were offered piano lessons. He quit after a few years. I had my last piano lesson when I was 21 years old. I didn’t realize until much later that he had more musical talent than I did. He played the sax in our high school band. Through the years he learned to play the trumpet and trombone, and now, at 80, he is learning the French horn — all self-taught. He can play the notes written for those instruments and instantly transpose piano music for them. He is most in demand to play the musical saw, which he learned from his father-in-law. I’m glad I’m not envious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anne, thank you for the informative comment. I looked up and watched some videos on the musical saw which fascinated me. At some point of music lessons, it is possible to self-teach many other musical instruments. Our children had piano lessons too and continued throughout high school. Our daughter also picked up playing the violin and flute. Our son played violin for a few years until teaching himself the acoustic guitar. Both still play for enjoyment. Bravo to your brother and you with your musical background. Your first sentence says it all: rewarding others with our practice is most enjoyable. Here’s the musical saw video. Enjoy the weekend. oxox https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRMPoZ7gUyA/watch?v=XRMPoZ7gUyA


      • I enjoyed that video, too. Thanks for the link. I forgot that my brother also played classical guitar, but I don’t think he plays any more. oxox

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anne, once a musician, always a musician. One of my sisters studied in Spain and learned the flamenco guitar. She was quite good that I recall. Memorizing pieces for recitals was sometimes challenging. The longer I took lessons, the longer my pieces of music were. When I worked on a Beethoven piano concerto, I wondered how I would ever memorize such a long piece. One piano recital, my teacher commented that the piece I played seemed shorter to her. At that point, I realized I had forgotten to repeat an entire section. No one knew though. Whew! Be well. oxox


      • That is amusing that you forgot to repeat a section. It would have been worse to repeat it twice.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amusing too since my teacher couldn’t pinpoint why the piece seemed shorter until I realized it as well. And just now at church, we did NOT repeat a section we had practiced with a repeat. Need to watch like a hawk. I had part of a word started but not loudly enough for most to notice. It happens. oxox


      • You were on the ball! oxox

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Anne. That was an expression my parents used with us: to be on the ball. Also a chip off the old block. oxox


      • Chips are expensive these days, cell phone chips, anyway. oxox

        Liked by 1 person

      • OK, thanks, Anne. More humor from you? The idiom I meant, “a chip off the block” referred to: “someone whose character or personality resembles that of their parent.” High winds last night and a tad of snow this morning as the eternal struggle between winter and spring continues. Be well.. oxox


      • I was teasing. Your comment shows you are still a teacher at heart, and you deal with people who might not know that idiom. We have a lot of colloquial idioms, don’t we?

        John says there is snow in our forecast in a day or so, but it isn’t likely to fall or stick. That won’t keep me from looking at the window frequently. oxox

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anne, I chuckled as I wrote my response about the idiom. You have me pegged. Once a teacher, always a teacher. I thought it might be your humor but also wondered it might be a bona fide misunderstanding. Speaking of idioms, I have never been able to source the origin of the one which goes: “that just doesn’t cut the mustard.” Any ideas? Snow and high winds last night and more snow at the end of the week. oxox


      • I heard about cutting the mustard, but I don’t think folks from west TN used it a lot. I know, we said, “Is he too old to cut the mustard?” It was tied to age! oxox

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have never heard it tied to age but when something was not possible or incorrect, I said it didn’t cut the mustard. The teens I taught must have thought: there she goes again with these strange expressions. I know of mustard greens and wondered if it might have to do with harvesting them. Hmmm. oxox


      • It is a strange expression, but so is my version.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It seems, it will remain a mystery. oxox

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Bumba says:

    Lucky indeed. I’m thankful for the little music I’ve pickedup from strumming the guitar all these years. Never was taught much as a child. In my old age I’ve studied theory and some piano, but have yet to sight read or really play. Still, the beauty and magic of music continue to open up the more I learn.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Emily says:

    Wonderful blog! Love the photos and memories!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Emily, thank you for your comment. Much appreciated. It is gratifying to hear that you still have heartfelt memories of music as well. Piano, violin, flute. Practice makes perfect. Memorizing a piece of music is another skill which remains if practiced. Sight reading too. So get your piano tuned and enjoy happy moments to fill your soul with joy. Have a great weekend. oxox


  6. Arno Bode , Cologne ,Germany says:

    Liebe Mary Ann,
    mit brillianten Worten hast Du in Deiner Veröffentlichung wieder eine eindrucksvolle Lebenssituation beschrieben. Ich hatte beim lesen Deiner Schilderung das Gefühl meine eigene musikalische Entwicklung vor Augen zu haben. Mein Vater und mein Bruder beherrschten mehrere unterschiedliche Musikinstrumente . Mein Bruder ist ein begnadetes Musiktalent. Mit der Leichtigkeit ,mit der er sowohl im klassischen als auch im modernen Bereich der Musik sich bewegt hat mich immer fasziniert. Gern hätte ich von seinem Können etwas ab bekommen. Aber auch wenn mein Können nicht die Konzertreife hat ,macht es mir große Freude selbst zu musizieren.
    Liebe Mary Ann, Dein Leben ist ja sehr intensiv von der Musik geprägt. Dir und Deiner Familie wünsche ich noch viele glückliche Stunden mit Musik und Gesang. Genießt die Osterzeit und bleibt gesund !
    Dir liebe Mary Ann und Deiner Familie
    Alles Liebe
    Dein Arno

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lieber Arno,
      Vielen Dank für Deinen aufschlussreichen Kommentar zur Musik in meinem Leben. Musik ist Nahrung für die Seele und bringt dem Geist Trost. Ich stelle mir vor, dein Vater, dein Bruder und Du haben auch Trost in der Musik entdeckt. Unser Leben war von Musik geprägt und entwickelt sich weiter. Es erfordert ein gewisses Maß an Übung, um die Fähigkeiten zu beherrschen.
      Mein Mann und ich machen weiterhin Musik in der Kirche, wo er gestern ein wunderschönes Solo gesungen hat. Wir haben gestern auch bei der Beerdigung für einen lieben Freund gesungen. Ich liebte Deutsche Kirchen, in denen die ganze Gemeinde die Hymnen sang.
      Wir hatten das Glück, im August 2019 in Prag zu singen, kurz bevor alles geschlossen wurde. Wir hoffen, dass die Pandemie bald vorbei ist und die Menschen wieder reisen und Sport treiben und Konzerte besuchen können.
      Sei gesund und frohe Ostern für Dich und Deine Familie.
      Ich wünsche Dir alles Liebe
      Deine Mary Ann


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