Exponent II Classics: Of Time and Music
Exponent II, Vol. VI, No.1, Fall 1979
Of Time and Music
by Samelynn J. Wood, Portland, Oregon
“I thought you could play the piano, Momma.”
At last she knew the truth. For three years an old upright piano, tuned and ready, had sat in our living room. Tammy, my seven year old, had believed all that time that when I finally sat down to play I would sight read any song she chose, just like the pianists at church. Now she stood beside me listening attentively. As I played the right hand of “Happy Birthday” she clapped and said, “You didn’t make any mistakes!” But then I added the left hand. “You made seven mistakes, Momma. Seven mistakes.”
Recently I’ve been talking about having the piano tuned and arranging for Tammy to begin lessons. I’ve been explaining to my husband at length how music will enrich all the family. Finally he asked, “Then why don’t you ever play? Why do you have an oboe, a clarinet, and a piano that you never touch?”
Occasionally my husband is absolutely right.
If I want music to be a part of our family life, it is I who must demonstrate its importance. The piano is three years out of tune. I am twenty-two years out of practice. But I have begun to practice again. For a half hour each day, often in ten-minute segments, I settle down with my “Bach for Early Grades.” Sometimes my toddler stands shakily beside me or my three year-old plays with me on several octaves lower. There are occasional blissful minutes when I can play all by myself.
Of course I don’t have a half hour a day to spend on frills. I don’t know a Mormon mother who does. But I don’t have time for all the laundry, shopping, chauffering, church work and professional activities either. And somehow they always get done. I began playing the piano when it became urgent enough to squeeze into the day along with all the other plans and crises. Many of the ideas from Exponent II and elsewhere about organizing time and setting priorities helped make it possible. But the key was a total conviction that my music must happen now for me and my family.
I have talked a lot to myself and others about all the marvelous things I am going to do when I have more time. I have finally waited long enough for the golden gift of ample time. It is never going to be mine. I will always just barely get done the things I value most. As my various hopes and dreams become important enough, the time to do them will be now.