Tag Archive | Piano


We just had the busiest spring break ever.  This week will probably just be me trying to catch up with everything that happened.

We spent the first half of the week remodeling.  There are two neighbor boys I have worked with through scouting.  They did their music merit badge with me, and decided they enjoyed it so much they talked their parents into getting them a piano.  They were a little worried when they realized that not only did their parents have to fork out the money for a piano, but also tune and maintain it is well.  We proposed a trade, a few hours of help with painting and remodeling for a piano tune.

These young men (both eagle scouts and still working on their palms) not only came over during their spring break to work for the trade, but they volunteered an extra day and a half without pay just because they saw we needed it.  I mean they worked for the entire day, no complaining, no goofing off, no wishing they could go home early.  Free food didn’t hurt, but they totally went above and beyond, contributing so much to our project.  They are getting the best tune and clean that their piano can handle, a great reference, and work experience for their resume’s.  They could have done so many other things with their spring break, goofed off with friends, played on the computer, slept in, but they chose service!  Lucky for us.  I think that is how the world is supposed to work.

Time and Perspective

Every March I hold a contest for my piano students.  It is the time of year they start getting too busy or lazy to stay on top of their practice, so I just need to give them a little push.  My children are no exception to the lazy bug, and it helps them as much as anyone.

Yesterday I was explaining to my son how the practice contest was going to work, the prizes, and what he was supposed to work on.  It was too much, he didn’t want to practice, he couldn’t do it, he wanted to give up before he even started.  That evening I set out the song he was working on and his practice chart and just left it on the piano.  Looking for a way to get out of going to bed, he gravitated over to his music.  Suddenly he remembered how much he actually liked the song he was learning, and sat down to practice, doing everything he had been asked to, and more.  This morning, first thing, he has already gotten to work and finished learning the song that he had been putting off for months!

We all know that time changes things, incentives change, and so does perspective.  If I had forgotten that concept, and gotten caught up in the negative emotions of the moment, I would have decided that working with this child was not possible and that it would take a miracle to get him to even try.  Patience, time, and change can allow things to happen that we would have previously considered impossible.  I believe this is one way miracles happen.  It is not because the impossible has occurred, but because time and patience have occurred.



Today’s miracle involves the miracle of individuality.

As a private music teacher I love cultivating each student’s individuality.  This last week has been our area’s equivalent of solo festival.  One young student, barely 8 years old, had a piece that he had been working on for a while.  After he had learned it and registered to perform it, he had gotten a little lazy, and let some errors creep in.  He panicked when he realized how far downhill he had let the piece get and how hard it would be to change the errors.

When I checked in on him after his performance he had an interesting story to tell.  He had performed the piece perfectly and received a Superior (I) rating, with a rant review from the judge.  He actually felt a little guilty because he knew he had not prepared to that level, but he learned something about himself.  He told me that under the pressure of performing for the judge, something kicked in and he was able to perform flawlessly.  He begged me not to make him play it again because he just wanted to remember the perfect performance.

This little 8 year old has found an individual strength and gift that many adults covet.   I see it as evidence of a gift from God in a young individual.

Making Music

This month in our piano lessons we are working on composing.  Composing is so much easier, and so much more fun than it used to be.  Now we have computers that help us troubleshoot problems, and adjust mistakes at the click of a button.  Just like many other things in life that have been made easier through technology, I’m grateful for composing software, and the ease and convenience of digital technology.  Even electronic pianos have their place, and they exist in a world as a compliment to acoustic pianos.  Pretty cool to have so many options.

For anyone who feels like tinkering around on their own piece of music, I recommend the open source (aka FREE) program musescore.  It can be downloaded HERE.  No need to worry about viruses, or codes expiring, or trials.  Just download and start learning to use it.


Just for fun, here is a variation on Twinkle, Twinkle adapted for Halloween.  (Yes, I used musescore, and although I have purchased other programs, this one works just as well.)

Maybe They Will All Disappear

Our Completed Project!


This piano is amazing on 2 levels.  First – I don’t have before photos because everyone who saw it universally agreed it belonged in the dump.  Second – My husband has put a lot of work into this restoration.  Work that he could not have physically done a year ago.  We are grateful for his health and for his expertise.  It sounds as good as it looks – or better.


Johnny Lingo Moment

Last week one of my husband’s friends moved to Salt Lake.  He had a “project piano” in his home that he did not want to take with him.  He gave it to us to see if it was even possible to fix or not.  I took one look at it and said it needed to go straight to the dump.  Even DI would not want this thing (and they sell some pretty poor excuses for pianos there.)  Les wanted to just test out the integrity of the insides before we dumped it.  We did not even take it out of our van to test it, because if it failed to be able to hold a tune we were not even going to try.  I was very disappointed when it was decided it could possibly be salvaged to maybe hold a tune.

We brought it into the house, and into good light.  I was so disappointed.  I didn’t even take any “before” photos because I just wanted it out of my house.  Ugly.  There were major stains on the wood, food actually caked into the crevices, missing and cracked varnish, and two mismatched legs of the wrong size, shape, style and wood.  Not only did it not even stand up straight, but it wasn’t playable because the keys were too cracked and would cut your fingers, and every note was out of tune.  One note even had a make-shift black key made out of Popsicle sticks!

I had some friends come look at it who worked with wood.  Les was pretty sure that he could restore the insides without too much time or expense.  (Have I ever mentioned that he is often overly optimistic?)  They looked at it, and verified that it was structurally in good shape, but kind of had a scared expression themselves looking at the condition of the finish.  Just strip it down and start all over again was their recommendation.  And the legs could be salvaged as well, they would help.

Great.  Now I have a time consuming work project in the middle of the family room.  Les was excited, thinking we could make enough on the piano to cover our entire mortgage this month.  That is really stretching it I told him.

Yesterday we started working on the piano.  In about 2 hours we had the largest problem on the insides completely fixed, the entire thing cleaned (tons of pennies and dust bunny heaven – eecchhkk) and the second largest problem (the broken white keys) halfway finished!  We put stripper on the entire piano.  As I started scraping the varnish off, I discovered one of the shocks of my life.  This piano is BEAUTIFUL.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  It’s not a dirty, disgusting, neglected brownish piece of wood, it is a very expensive looking, dark red, gorgeous, probably mahogany piano.  There were some repair parts it needed that are very hard to find, but so far everything we need we have found extras of sitting in our garage!  I will definitely have after photos, and my overly optimistic husband is raising what he hopes to sell the piano for as we speak.  Talk about a Johnny Lingo moment!

If you don’t know the story of Johnny Lingo, you can watch it on YouTube.  I’ve attached then end section of the original movie to this post.  I think we need to name this piano Mahana.