When my siblings and I were young, our mom (in her infinite wisdom) made us all take piano lessons.
None of us lasted a long time on it, except my sister who could play the world’s hardest song, “The Spinning Song” from book #3 or 4 in the Thompson series. I remember it went something like “deedle deedle dum dum, da da, deedle deedle dum dum, da da!
She must have played that pattern ONE BILLION TIMES! (even 20 years later it rattles through my head)
Me and my brothers never really made it out of Thompson’s Book 1. But that doesn’t mean we never learned anything! There were two really important songs in that book; the first song “Here we go, up a row. To a birthday party”, and the last song called “From a Wigwam.” The pinnacle of all piano playing was being able to play “From a Wigwam”. It was so cool. It sounded like real live Indians. In fact, I might even have a vague memory of one of us playing “From a Wigwam” and everyone else dancing around in a circle doing the stereotypical Indian hand to mouth sounds.
So, last night I had just completed practicing a song on the piano, but didn’t quite feel done yet. Alas, there were no more books on the piano that I felt like playing something out of, so I suddenly I broke into “From a Wigwam”. It was a joyous occasion. I remembered most of it, and made up the rest.
Thanks Mom, for teaching me “From a Wigwam”, putting masking tape on my fingers and on the piano keys, making me practice (even when I threw a fit), letting me give up when the time was right, and encouraging me again when I picked it back up as a teenager and suddenly knew everything about everything.