By: Hellene Hiner
A Sad Little Story With a Happy Ending.
I dedicate this article to all people who ever tried to learn music, but couldn't make it.
Jenny's mom wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her parents could never afford a piano and piano lessons. But Jenny's mom had one special song she had always dreamed of learning to play.
It never happened.
She grew up, established a successful career, got married and had Jenny. Everything in her life fell quite nicely into place. The only thing that she ever truly regretted was that she had never learned how to play the piano. 'Oh, well, my daughter will do it!' , she told herself.
Jenny loved music from the day she was born! She would charm everyone who saw her as she tried to dance whenever she heard the family’s favorite song. Her little legs couldn’t stop moving to the beat, as she would sing the words to the song.
When Jenny turned six, Jenny's mom purchased a nice piano and started looking for a piano teacher. In her mind she visualized her dream: a beautiful evening, the piano sparkling as the beams of the setting sun danced across it’s gleaming surface – and her Jenny sitting at the piano, playing the family's favorite song.
Reality was painfully different. Within two months, Jenny was beginning to dread her piano lessons. Jenny's mom did her best to support her as she helped her through her practice sessions; they both learned music theory, worked on exercises, and drilled on notes and keys.
But Jenny was having little noticeable success in playing songs. She was nowhere near ready to learn the family’s beloved favorite. There were a few songs in her method books, but they were extremely elementary. One day Jenny's mom couldn't wait any longer and went to a music store to find sheet music for their song.
“This song is really beautiful, but too hard for your child to play yet!”, Jenny’s piano teacher exclaimed when she looked at the music. “Just stick with her lessons, have her practice as much as she can and in a year or two we will start working on your favorite song.”
The teacher was absolutely right! Jenny struggled even with a simple music staff. She constantly confused one musical note with another and missed keys here and there routinely. “If it took her 2 months to learn the simple staff, how much time will it take to get to advanced pieces?”, Jenny's mom wondered wearily. She grew tired of constant fights with her daughter over practice sessions at home. She had no idea of the stunning surprise that would occur a couple of months later at Jenny’s first piano recital.
The beginning of the recital went pretty much as expected. Jenny was very nervous, but she didn't forget her piece when it was time for her to perform on stage. Her mom felt very relieved. All of the hard work had eventually paid off and it was time to be proud… at least momentarily.
Then Lillian, Jenny's friend, got on stage. She had signed up for piano lessons after finding out that Jenny was taking them. “Hmm, I wonder, what piece from the method book Lillian will play? I need to talk to Lillian’s mom about how they handle practice”, Jenny's mom thought. Lillian looked at the piano keys intently and started her performance. IT WAS JENNY’S FAMILY’S FAVORITE SONG!!! Neither she nor Jenny could believe their ears. They were both crushed.
Jenny's mom couldn't sleep all night. She replayed the recital in her head repeatedly. The most painful memory was to see the disappointment in Jenny's eyes. The girl was truly hurt. “Mom, I love music so much! Why can't I play piano like Lillian?”, she heard her daughter’s anguished cry over and over as she tossed and turned, trying to sleep.
“Really, why? Why does Jenny struggle so hard to learn piano? It seems like she really appreciates music. She loves to dance and sing. Maybe she is not musically gifted! But she is doing great at school! What is wrong and how can I fix it?”, Jenny's mom asked herself over and over again through the long sleepless hours.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with your daughter!”, Jenny's teacher said the very next morning. “Your daughter is a great student and her progress is very steady. You have nothing to worry about!“
“But Lillian plays such advanced music already, and my Jenny…“
“You see, Lillian has inborn musical talent,” replied the teacher. “She grasps music very quickly and has a great memory. She is a true prodigy. Unfortunately, one may not find such abilities very often. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Jenny can play beautifully too. It will just take a bit more hard work.”
After the holidays, Jenny flatly rejected to continue piano lessons. For some reason Jenny's mom accepted this with a sigh of relief. They closed the lid on the piano and family members forgot that it had ever existed.