Classical Music – Piano lessons carried forward

Some 60 (OMG!!!) odd years ago, my mother required me to take piano lessons. I believe, though I can’t swear to it, that my sister may also have been required to take the initial lessons but managed, at her more mature age, to wiggle out of them. She was, after all, some 8 years older than me. I hold her accountable for that today. <grin> I am still thinking of ways to get even <grinning louder>.

I was taught piano first by a lay teacher in town and later by my 4th & 5th grade teacher, a nun who had taken the name of Sister Thomas Catherine. I loved that teacher but I hated piano lessons, the half hour minimum per day I had to give the piano in practice, and, even more so truly hated, the recitals. My practice was on an old upright player piano (sans player, darn it) that was sort of in tune.

My parents bought a 26 volume set of piano books for me to study which included biographies of the various classical composers, the history of music, volumes of classical music so difficult to read my mind balked completely and one (1 only) volume of semi-contemporary music for more of an amateur pianist like me who really wanted to play what I heard on the radio, not what was written hundreds of years ago.  But classical piano was what I had to learn, play and perform which did not make me a happy child.

I absorbed, in spite of myself, the biographies of these composers. When there was nothing else to read, I read those books. Later this did help me pass Music 101 in college as one of my pre-reqs (art) for graduation.

Wolfgang Mozart
By Barbara Krafft – Deutsch, Otto Erich (1965) Mozart: A Documentary Biography. Stanford: Stanford University Press., Public Domain,

Now in my late 60s, I find classes through The Great Courses Plus on Classical Masterworks to offer fascinating information and education. In the first two classes I have been both entertained and educated about Wolfgang Christian Gottlieb (not Amadeus, as I learned in the class) Mozart. Listening to the Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, K. 503 (1786), learning to hear the notes, to recognize the formal structure, thematic relationships, expressive content as well as the role of the piano soloist has been very informative as well as entertaining.

While each class is about 45 minutes, I am going through one and one-quarter class per day while walking on the treadmill. Since I spend 60 minutes on the treadmill each morning, the 36 lectures are going to hold my attention for the better part of 3 weeks.

What were you forced to learn or do as a child by your parents that has come back as a new interest in your adult years?  Anything? Nothing? Share your interests with a comment below.