Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Showing off for the nephew

"Aunt Susan!" Sammy says. "Show me how to do stuff on the piano."

The family has gathered at my parents' house for Thanksgiving week, and everyone speaks kid except me. They delight in entertaining my sister's boys, six-year-old Sam and four-year-old Ian. I'm the lone adult who doesn't talk to them in singsong tones. Someday when they're older, they'll appreciate this. I'll be the cool aunt. For the time being, I'm not that interesting.

But now I follow Sammy into the sunporch. Finally, something I can do.

He wants a lesson. Sort of. His current technique consists primarily of pressing most of his fingers and part of his hand onto random keys. I demonstrate playing one note at a time with one finger at a time. He hits random keys. I demonstrate experimenting with different notes to produce more pleasant chords. He hits random keys.

I follow his lead, not pushing the instructions on him. If he really wants to change what he's doing, he'll let me know.

Then he teaches me a game he plays with his dad.

The rules go like this. Sammy closes his eyes. I play a note. Sam opens his eyes and tries to hit the note I played. To narrow it down, I place my hands on each side of the note at a 90-degree angle, about an octave apart.

He gives this a couple tries. Then he plays a note for me while I cover my eyes. Before he can surround the note with his hands, I plink it. He sees it's the right one, and he finds this ... maybe not impressive, but possibly amusing. He's smiling, anyway.

I close my eyes again. He plays another note. Plink. Again. Plink. We repeat this once or twice until my parents tell us it's time for dinner.

Perfect pitch is generally not a skill I get to use in day-to-day life. Bet it's another ten years before anything like that happens again.


David Powell said...

I had no idea that you had perfect pitch. Neat.

Jannie Funster said...

What a beautiful moment to share with him, the stuff of sweet memories, and relationship building. Bet he remembers always. And will "bug" you constantly for a lesson. Bet he ends up a musician too, you just can never underestimate the time and energy you shower a child with.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

cinderkeys said...

*grin* ... If Sam ends up a musician, he'll choose a different instrument. I told this story to my sister after posting, and she said that he'd gotten six piano lessons in summer camp. The teacher's assessment: Sammy's a delightful child, but not very interested in piano.

Most people have no idea I have perfect pitch because I never have a use for it outside of music, and almost never inside of music. :)