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  • Writer's picturestephensgerald10

Ok Blog-is that catchy for a title?

Sunday blog 1/17/21

I don't feel like working hard on writing, but am just here to keep my commitment with myself to write regularly. This may be rambly and go off on tangents. I hope it is, and don't care what my impact is, if any.

Ceile McLorin Salvant is singing Jitterbug Waltz on my playlist as I start this- what a good singer. Now Billy Childs' classical sounding work. I have good music in my life.

This refurbished computer is weird. The "i's" are harder to push, and the mouse will change the size of everything on the screen from time to time. This used to be maddening, but is just now like an old family member with chronic problems. Or a middle aged self with bad hips and struggling back, but I digress.

My medical stuff is going pretty well considering-I will write about that another time.

The beginning of the story with me and a piano goes that I started asking my mother for a piano when I was 4. I don't remember this, but that's the story she tells. My folks bought me a $300 former player piano from a neighbor when I was 7, and I started taking lessons from the 19 year old daughter of the local elementary school music teacher in Southaven, MS, where I grew up, basically a southern suburb of Memphis.

That piano-teacher girl and the beginner John Thompson books taught me to read music, whole and half notes, counting, which line and space were which notes, etc. A couple of weird things come to mind. She tried one week to teach me ear training by getting me to see if I could pick out the notes to "Dixie" by ear. I had not heard that song at that time. Not talking politics on this post, but you can tell a lot about who I am right now at 49 if you can read between the lines of this and the previous paragraph.

So who knows why a 7 year old in MS in 1978 hadn't heard Dixie yet? I don't, and so I couldn't do that exercise, and she looked stuck, like she didn't know what to do next. And she didn't come up with anything. I never had ear training until some jazz book and CD training, and then live on-stage blues band training across the decade of my 20's. I am a total late bloomer here, not by intention, but by necessity determined by my surroundings and the people in it.

That teacher was also anorexic and used to miss notes on the piano by trying but being too weak in the hands and fingers. She would actually depress the keys, but not heavily enough to make them sound. Her music teacher mother used to scold her about this. She also fell asleep in my lessons several times, and eventually went up north to a hospital for help with this, and I later overheard that she was better. I still am not sure how that disease actually works. I was so young, I didn't know what was going on. Her mother took over my lessons after that. I don't remember these lessons too well, but I do remember not liking the music class at school she taught, where we were forced as a class to sing weird songs that I actually can't remember now.

Side note, the younger daughter of that music teacher was also in the house, and she was the first attractive teenage girl I was fascinated by as a boy who was too young to even know what that meant. She was 15, beautiful in look, attitude and spirit, and sometimes answered the door for me, and I specifically remember sometimes that she'd be jamming out to Billy Joel, the theme song to the Bosom Buddies TV show being a favorite. "Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone." I watched that show, so I knew the song, and was interested in the fact that you didn't have to wait for the song to come on to listen to it. I listened to my mom's records, but didn't realize that the rock and roll on my TV was also on recordings that you could buy. Naive.

I hope that musical family of girls and ladies are ok now. I haven't seen or heard from any of them in decades. I don't remember a father in the house, but there certainly could've been one who was at work during the daytimes.

Ok, this computer has sat on my legs enough for now. I will tell more of my story later. Stay safe and well.

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