A couple of weeks ago saw the arrival of my piano. After living in this house where it was big enough to have a piano for close to 13 years, I’ve finally managed to move it from my mum’s house to ours.
The reason it wasn’t moved earlier was because the OH flat out refused to have it in the house, saying it would get used as a dumping ground, clutter the place up and that he’d chop it up for firewood if I brought it to our house.
So I held off for a while. Then my mum died at the end of 2013, and the process of selling her house started. Well, it’s taken a while, and now it’s finally sold (fingers crossed the survey didn’t find anything and it all goes through). Which meant no excuses, the piano was coming back to our house where it should have been years ago.
I’m a great believer that if you’ve got room for a piano, then a house should have one. Especially with a young child, if you want to encourage a love of music, having a piano really helps that because it’s such an accessible instrument.
So a week or so before the piano was being moved, I frantically decluttered toys, books, clothes. I moved around N’s room to allow for my old chest of drawers from my mum’s to replace the knackered dressing table that N was suffering with. I could then have more floor space for his chalkboard table and seat to go in his room. The cot bed is finally dismantled and ready to freecycle, because no one wants to buy it. After moving all the books upstairs, the falling to pieces bookcase and toy tidy was taken to the tip, and remaining toys were put in big tubs behind the dining room/playroom door. There was now room for a piano and the OH’s old chair that was also coming back from my mum’s. And the living room now had toys cleared out of a corner so I could fit in my mum and dad’s old Victorian bookcase I’d always wanted.
The day before removal, I told the OH.
‘By the way, tomorrow your chair’s being moved back here’.
‘I hope that piano’s not coming here. I said I’d chop it up and I mean it’.
Of course I just ignored it. I’d made plenty of space, and a piano is never junk. Plus, there’s an ancient (unplayable) one at the farm, so he can’t really complain.
N was really excited by the piano coming. He always loved to play it at Grandma’s house, and I’m hoping that he might want to learn properly when he’s a bit older.
Thankfully it wasn’t raining on the day, and the polish removal guys turned up in their van to move the various items of furniture and the piano. I’ve never seen furniture being packed up and moved before, having only moved once when I was 7. The tonnes of times post 6th form that I’ve moved, haven’t involved furniture other than a futon and book shelves because I’d always been in house shares and largely furnished houses, so it was interesting to watch how easy they made it seem.
The piano was duly wrapped up in the van, then we had to drive the 7 bumpy and windy miles from one village to the farm. I’m glad I wasn’t the one driving because our roads aren’t the best for cars or 4x4s, let alone vans with precious cargo in.
The gravel at the farm from van to front door wasn’t an issue either so it didn’t take more than an hour from packing up to unpacking again.
Everything was moved into place, the book case was filled with DVDs and books, my camera, scanner, electronic cables and wool, uncluttering the place further. The bookcase looks great where it stands, and it goes perfectly with the OH’s wine cabinet/bureau.
We transferred all of N’s clothes neatly into the much more spacious chest of drawers, were he can reach it himself, leaving more room in the wardrobe to put coats as well as trousers.
And the piano looks brilliant in situ. We’ve managed to find a spot in the south facing room so that the sun doesn’t stream onto it, because it’s really obvious how badly faded it was from my mum’s french windows with the obvious mark from where the lid has sat open for years.
Now it’s home, the OH hasn’t mentioned it at all. So I could probably have brought it over a lot earlier.
I’ve realised how out of practice I really am. I can just about remember chop sticks and the tune from Big that Tom Hanks plays on the giant piano, but apart from that I’m back to my old Grade 1 to 3 level books, and having to hack my way through all the sheet music I used to comfortably play.
It’s lovely hearing N play. I’ve tried to teach him to listen and find middle C, and attempt to get him to follow and copy me playing twinkle twinkle. But so far, he just wants to play his own thing.
Thankfully he treats the piano really well, something we’ve always encouraged since he was younger. He has piano rules:
- no sticky fingers, so if he’s been eating or drinking beforehand, he needs to wash or wipe his fingers;
- be gentle when putting the lid of the piano or piano stool up and down; and
- don’t stand on the pedals.
That’s it so far. He likes to get the music out and put it away again. His favourite is the ‘sheep music’, which it turns out isn’t ‘sheet music’ but my All Creatures Great and Small’ sheet music which has a picture of the Yorkshire Dales and sheep on the front. I get told when I’m not allowed to play.
Although N has no understanding of what he’s playing, he loves to play. We’ve always been surprised at how gentle he always is with the keys. It’s like he’s thinking about and listening to exactly what keys and notes he’s playing, rather than just thumping away like so many young children do.
It’s also sparked off a whole lot of other questions that he’d never have thought of if we’d not had it here.
I want the piano to be part of our home and part of our family. I love that it’s always there and always available to play and hopefully N will feel the same way. It’s so much easier to spontaneously play the piano rather than having to get out, put together and then clean and put away a clarinet or saxophone, plus much harder to damage or drop!
Do you have a piano? What instruments do your family play? How did you get your children started?