When we were growing up and struggling to put food on the table, circa 1972,we had to sell our piano. I LOVED playing piano. I had done a couple recitals, I was quite good and quite proud of my abilities. But the piano represented food, and my 7 siblings and I were more in need of meals than we were in need of melodies.
Fast forward to 2001, our three-year old boy is getting good on the piano, in our pale pink house in Los Angeles, by the famous Farmers’ Market on 3rd and Fairfax.
He had learned to read music before he could read words. Thank you Nyra! Warren’s Russian piano teacher was so great! She gave us such a gift! The ability to make music is a gift!
Warren got better and better, his music finally fun to listen to as his feet still didn’t even reach the pedals. I loved watching his little fingers flying up and down the keys, never missing a note or a beat.
I would often sit on the bench, by myself , staring at the keys, sad that my songs had left me. Sad that I had so much music inside me but I could no longer express it with my fingers. And I remembered my piano teacher, Mrs Cunningham, and her beehive hairdo, and I smiled, a sad smile.
Fast forward to 2007, Warren’s now 9 and we have moved to Old Greenwich Ct, and he has lost interest in piano and has moved on to entrepreneurial endeavors too numerous to list. Geography, the cosmos, technology, language, travel, all have our son’s attention at this point…..So I sit him down and I say “Warren, I need you to do me a favor, Keep Two Songs. Please don’t lose your two best songs”.
He looked at me inquisitively and nodded that Ok can I go now? nod.
He was still able to play two full songs, but not like he used to, he was getting rusty. And when it comes to piano, it is NOT like riding a bike…..if you don’t use it, you lose it! So I begged and pleaded.
I told him my story. I told him how I lost my songs as the piano got traded for groceries. He listened. I said “there will come a time in college when you will all be hanging out and a piano will be nearby and you will be able to saunter up to it and BANG! You’ll play your two songs! And you’ll thank me that I made you keep your two songs”. He nodded, nodded that smart kid nod. We had a deal.
So he spent time making sure his two songs were perfect.
But then something really amazing happened!
He took the keyboard up another level. He bought an electric piano, fell in love with EDM DJ’s like Avicci and Calvin Harris, started his own DJ company, his own record label. Made his own EDM songs.
Fast forward 5 years to today, he’s 18 years old, and can learn a pop song from ear. He is writing his own music and merging multiple songs into his own House versions. The keys falling and jumping as he runs up and down the octaves like he did when he was three. Nothing makes me happier than listening to him rock the keyboards like Elton John. Our bedroom is right above the piano and his songs fill my room , up through the floor boards, as I watch TV or read.
His music fills the house like the sweet smell of his mother’s Greek cooking.
Our boy leaves for college in about 6 or 7 weeks. It will be a profoundly sad day. Our little piano player has grown up. The music is leaving the house, but it is not leaving our hearts. And I am warmed by the thought that as he packs for college, he is taking his two songs with him……and countless more.