For those of you who are curious, Jeffrey is indeed still slogging away with piano.
Yes, I was truly upset about his teacher’s recommendation that we take some time off, but after consulting my mother-in-law (who not only is generously funding the lessons, but has also put six children through lessons herself) I’ve decided to just keep slogging on through.
The last thing I want is to give my kid the message that two so-so weeks of lessons grants him the right to quit.
So: we’re slogging. The biggest obstacles Jeffrey faces, other than the usual attention-span problems, is learning the notes on the keyboard and proper fingering. Kim, his teacher, has therefore issued flash cards and a finger exercise known as “tabletop tapping.” We’re also reviewing many of the songs he already knows, teaching him to look at the music instead of his hands, and to hold his fingers the right way and play instead of pounding the keyboard.
After nearly two months of flashcards and table-tapping, Jeffrey has improved enough to focus on directly identifying keys on the keyboard and working on playing his review songs properly. Every now and then I see him make a small leap, a connection — hey, when the notes on the page move upwards, it means the notes are higher! — and he’s really starting to make an effort in making a sound that is “smooth like ice cream.”
And the bribes rewards? Those don’t hurt, either. Jeffrey has only two or so more days until he gets enough stickers on his chart for an R2-D2 toy. Woot.
In other music-related news, a few weeks ago I found a bag of plastic busts of composers’ heads for $1 at the thrift store. They’re kind of dated (Edward MacDowell is the lone representative of American music) but I thought they made for goofy fun. Look — I can juggle them in the air and say they’re too hot to Handel!
Jeffrey on the other hand, was fascinated and spent a great deal of time making this on top of the piano:
He gathered the boxes, the flowers, and ribbon all by himself, and dubbed it the “Piano Temple.” In case you can’t tell (it’s kind of blurry) Beethoven is at the top (the only composer Jeffrey knows). I think the Maestro would approve. And what is up with Bach’s friggin’ enormous head?!? (He’s just below Beethoven on the right.)