When I was five years old I started piano lessons. For my parents, especially MY MOM, it was extremely important that music play a role in my life. I took lessons on my grandmother’s piano. My grandmother died when MY MOM was fourteen. That piano and music were one of the primary ways that I connected with her memory. The Chickering parlor grand piano had a prominent place in our living room, in fact it was the first thing that you saw upon entering our house in Los Angeles. I took weekly lessons and learned to plunk out notes. And in time I was playing Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and others.
When I was in third grade in my public school we had the opportunity to select an instrument for orchestra. I selected the clarinet. So for one academic year I played that woodwind. I would never become Benny Goodman.
The next year string instruments became an option and I switched to cello. Because I was able to read music, I was allowed this flexibility of instrument.
In the meanwhile, piano lessons were ongoing.
When we moved to Minnesota, I switched from orchestra or band to choir. Eventually as I got older, I think the tenth grade, my piano lesson days came to an end. I was still singing in choirs in my schools (for the record I attended public schools for elementary and secondary schooling). I did take guitar lessons for a bit, too.
When I went to college I elected to sing in the University Chorus for two years. In addition to a full academic course load, this was one of my extra-curricular activities. Music was always important to me.
Last year, I started taking guitar lessons again because I use my guitar in my work as a rabbi and I like it. (I have the greatest guitar teacher. (Happy to make a recommendation if you’d like. Use the ‘contact’ option to be in touch). Making music lowers my stress and I love it.
This past week, during Purim celebrations, I found myself as the page-turner. I am so incredibly grateful that I am able to read music and play multiple instruments. Thanks MOM and DAD for all of those music lessons. All of these years later they are still paying off.