I started taking piano lessons when I was four years old. Just a wee little thing, before I’d even heard of plumbing service Kitchener ON, learning about Critter C, who hung out in the middle of the piano, and the Bouncing Bird B, who bounces on the top line of the bass clef. It was great; I was really lucky to have been given the opportunity to learn from such an early age. And I continued to take piano lessons all the way into high school, which is when I stopped, to give myself time to do other extra-curriculars at school (pretty much all musical, as it happens).
And though I live away from home now, and have not had a piano in my house for years, I still love sitting down at it when I visit my parents’ house. I’m not as good as I once was, but I know that that would come with time. Often I wish that I hadn’t stopped, and that I’d made an effort to keep a piano at whichever residence in which I happened to be living. But, for better or for worse, I’ve had different priorities over the past few years, and I haven’t had a keyboard. Hopefully, within the next few years, that will change.
One of the best things about learning the piano is how easy is makes music theory compared to some other instruments. I know, many of you are thinking, pfft, theory, that’s boring, and it doesn’t impress anyone. And there are others of you, that is, those of you know know anything about music, who know that that is absolutely false. Theory does impress people, but they just don’t know it. You can’t play an instrument properly without knowing some theory, and you certainly can’t improvise or write music without understanding it. The piano allows you to really see the intervals and chore structures, because it allows you to visualize the distance between notes, whereas that is far more difficult to do on, say, a violin or a saxophone.
Another great thing about the piano is its versatility. You can play classical, jazz, rock, contemporary, pop, really anything! You name a genre, and the odds are a piano would work in it. And for a musician, that’s such a great thing. If you understand your theory and you know how to improvise and you’re invited to a jam session and you play the piano, it really doesn’t matter what kind of music they’re playing. You’ll fit in there somehow.
And these are all probably reasons that kids tend to start their musical education with the piano. That, and that they’re pretty difficult to drop or destroy. I know a lot of kids play the piano when they’re young, and then they quit because they don’t want to practise, and then their parents get too fed up with trying to force them to practise, and they let them quit. Not my kids, man. My kids will play until they’re in high-school, at least, because that’s when they’ll understand how much they would have missed out on if they’d stopped. And just like I now thank my parents, they’ll thank me.