Piano Lesson

“And this, Jenny, is the piano room!” Mary said, gesturing to the beautiful baby grand in a white-walled, sunny room. A single bookshelf stood in the corner filled with sheet music.

“Will you play me something Auntie Mary?” Jenny asked.

“Oh, I would, but I haven’t been able to play for some time. My fingers have arthritis, and aren’t up to pressing the keys much any more.”

“Oh. Well, could I play something for you?”

“Have you ever played before?”

“No, but I’m a quick learner!”

“Well, all right, take a seat and I’ll show you a few things.”

Jenny squealed with delight, and ran over to the piano, immediately throwing open the lid and mashing her hand on a cluster of notes, creating a jarring, discordant sound. Mary shuddered, then quickly barked “Not like that!” Jenny stopped and looked immediately sheepish. “We need to be careful with the piano, treat it like an old friend, who needs special care.”

“Okay, sorry Auntie.”

“That’s okay, just remember for next time. Now, see that key right there?” she said, pointing to a white key in the middle of the keyboard. “That’s middle C. No matter what, you can find your way by using that; it will always be middle C. Memorize it. Play it now.”

Jenny put her index finger on the key, and pressed it slowly, carefully. No sound came out.

“A little harder, dear.” Jenny pressed harder, and a beautiful C sounded through the room. Jenny’s mouth fell open at the sound, and she immediately wanted more. She waited patiently while her aunt explained what each white key was, and how the musical alphabet worked.

By the end of the lesson, Jenny played her first C major scale, paying very careful attention to her fingering. “One two three one two three four five four three two one three two one” she whispered under her breath.

“Good!” Aunt Mary said. “Next time, I’ll tell you what the black keys are.”

“Oh, Auntie Mary, I love this! Can I come tomorrow to learn more?”

“Well, we’ll have to see if it’s okay with your mother, but I don’t see why not.”

Jenny was ecstatic, and went back to playing her C scale, over and over, until the doorbell rang. She heard her mother and her aunt in the hallway, discussing the lessons, and it sounded like they had agreed that tomorrow would be fine. Her mother mentioned money, but Aunt Mary waved her off, saying it was her pleasure to show someone how to play, and besides, it was probably just a passing fancy, and she’d move on in a week.

It only took three days before Jenny wanted a violin instead of a piano.

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