When I was in second grade Mama decided I was old enough to take piano lessons. I was scared and excited at the same time. She taught me the little rhymes that helped me memorize the names of the lines and spaces.
The songs I played were super simple. They had no words. Two months into the lessons Mama decided I had learned enough from my teacher and could teach myself the rest. (No problem, right?)
Teaching myself was a big challenge. Mama gave me a church hymnal and said I could learn how to play church songs so I could play the piano at church. (Now I was really scared.) I looked at the tiny little shaped notes and said, "Every, good, boy, does, fine, F, A, C, E"
As I figured out which notes were which on the right hand, I took a pencil and wrote the note names down in the songbook. We had learned the Bass notes as well...All, cars, eat, gas. Great, big, dogs, fight, animals. Those were also noted.
In two months of formal piano lessons I had learned one sharp and four flats. I stayed stuck there for many years. In high school choir I finally learned the notes between the clefts in the invisable lines and spaces. I was confused before I learned that.
The first church song I learned was "When We All Get to Heaven". As I crippled through it, Mama sang. When I made a mistake she didn't let me start over. I had to keep going. The reason was that if I was to play the piano for church, no one would stop for my mistakes. I would have to learn to move on. That way of thinking was a blessing as well as a cursing. I did play for church, but when I practiced at home, I never went over and over problem areas in order to figure out how to do it right.
I wonder how Mama knew I could figure it out. Now, I'm in the process of learning how to play the guitar. Join me next Monday for an update on that journey.