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Respect for music

When I visited my friend's mom in Florida this past January, she told me proudly that all her children and her grandchildren have taken piano lessons. Although not all of them still play the piano, most of them play another instrument or sing. Piano lessons also gave the foundation and discipline for the children's pursuit of other interests.

Her secret? She never allowed anybody to touch her upright piano unless he was taking piano lessons. This way, she signaled that the piano was not a toy. She also taught them to treat music with respect.

It's no wonder that I get irritated when parents allow their toddlers to bang on the piano, worse, take them to the piano and allow them to treat it as a toy. And it annoys me to have to clean the keys when I want to play it.

The first time I gave an afternoon tea and music party to include children, I remember how they listened with awe. They were so fascinated by the piano and the flute. Thinking back, I don't recall them banging on my grand piano. Their parents must have taught them well.

When I was growing up, my mother taught us how to treat our upright piano. We could only touch the keys if we had washed our hands. After we played, we had to lay the red felt cloth on the keys, and then the lid on the keyboard. The keys never got oily or dirty.

Parents who do not have the benefit of a music education may not know this. There are toy manufacturers, and there are musical instrument manufacturers. When visiting friends who have no children and hence no toys, parents might help their kids by bringing their own toys. Who will respect you if you don't respect their musical instruments?

27 August 2002 Tuesday

Afternoon tea party 1998
Music education
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