I feel an I-told-you-so coming on.
I am about to do something which, I believe, will be met with disapproval, or at least indignation from my Grandmother.
No, Gramma, I am not getting anything else pierced.
I am looking seriously into music lessons for Jack. He was inconsolate again this morning when we took him to daycare. The staff agree that he needs a bit more challenge, and they have agreed to work with us and him to help him cope with this year of limbo. In the meantime, I am calling around for music lessons, since he has expressed serious interest for several months. Probably more interest than in hockey, if you can believe it. I think it will help keep him challenged until the academics start.
No, Gramma won’t disapprove of music education in and of itself. She has been advocating, probably since before they were born, the benefits of exposure to music at very young ages. So I think she’ll be all for the lessons.
It’s the instrument she may not like. And the instrument he will play is Anything But Organ.
A moment or two of background. Several years ago, my Gramma bought an electric organ and began taking lessons. Never having played a musical instrument, this was a pretty impressive move for a fairly senior citizen. Each week, she had an instructor come to her home and tutor her in the finer points of notes and chords and reverb. She got pretty good, too, playing Christmas carols quite recognizably.
After a while, the interest, or ambition, or instructor faded, and she stopped the lessons. And a while after that, she confessed that she hardly played at all anymore, if ever. That’s about when she started lobbying me to take the organ to my house “for the kids”.
Her arguments were sound: it was free, it was a quality instrument, the kids should learn music, her place was too small for it. All quite valid. The biggest problem: I didn’t want an organ.
It wasn’t the visual aesthetic of the thing, although it doesn’t really suit my decor. It wasn’t even the junk-collecting potential of yet another under-used horizontal surface. It was the sound. I have never been a fan, to say the least, of the sound of organ music. I have always been impressed by Gramma’s accomplishments with the instrument (I am convinced that her hobbies, her daily exercise and her volunteering (at a nursing home, no less) are what keep an octogenarian looking not a day over retirement). But I have never wanted to be subjected to it on a daily basis, and especially not at the hands of preschool aged children. To me, except possibly at the hands of a master, the organ sounds like a thousand tortured, if harmonic, mosquitoes.
When I worked at the bookstore, we played the CBC all the time. Thursday afternoon was always pipe organ day. The store sounded like a funeral parlour. I dreaded Thursdays. There is nothing anyone can do to liven up the organ. The instrument makes a cheerful jig sound like a dirge.
Gramma eventually found someone else who wanted to the organ, and I hear it is still being used to this day. That does assuage my guilt somewhat.
So Gramma, you were right (there, I said it). The organ would have been useful and educational. I’m sure I would have had a little Mozart on my hands if it was around for him to play with. I wouldn’t be looking at exorbitant sums for a guitar, piano, or, heaven forbid, drum set. But I may well have needed to be in a room with padded walls, child prodigy or not.
I hope you are laughing, Gramma. I am. I will let you know what we end up with. And maybe when Jr comes back from China, we’ll track the organ down and install it in the basement, if only on the condition that Jack practices with headphones on, to preserve what little sanity I still possess.