Sunday, April 22, 2007

Natural talent

My son, Jonathan (12) plays the piano. For a while we tried to assist his development by paying for piano lessons, but these only had limited success. He'd much rather work it out for himself. Yesterday I caught him playing Für Elise, which was a bit of a surprise, as his lack of enthusiasm for classical music comes close to mine. [It's a real difficulty in the ministry, as everyone thinks clergy are all into choirs, orchestras and the like, and talk to you as if you know what they are referring to. The nearest I get to classical is Genesis circa 1974]

Anyway, it turns out they were trying the tune out at school. Music was available, but Jono preferred to play it by ear in a scarily plausible way. He found it bewildering that some people couldn't even play it with the music. He then played it again, including a key change that I think may be lacking in the Beethoven* original.

Don't ask me where he gets it from.

* had to check on Wikipedia that I had remembered this correctly!


Andrew said...

My piano skills are exactly the same. I never took to piano lessons despite 5 years of them! i would always wait until the teacher played the piece through, and I'd then attempt to imitate. it's a skill that's very handy if you ever want to sing in a choir, but it infuriates most piano teachers.

St said...

My methodology too.In fact I play more by shape than by sound which may be a slight case of synesthesia (can't be bothered to check spelling but it's when different senses get linked and you see sounds, hear tastes etc). So I can't easily play by ear but I can usually manage once I've been shown or told.

Matthew McMurray said...

To be fair Mike, you are fairly musical yourself.

I have to say that he is a bit of a wonder on the keyboard and I am only judging from years ago when I was still at St. T's.