Someone on here asked me what the first song I learned to play on the piano was. It was "The Tennessee Waltz," which is still one of my favorites to sing. My parents' friend Dick'O taught me that when I was two or three, which was pretty easy because it can be played entirely on the black keys. I also vaguely remember picking out tunes by ear, my favorite being "The Wheels on the Bus." Who doesn't love that song?
Something I've not fessed up to in my blog is: I teach piano lessons. It's not my main gig, obviously, as I'm on the road a lot. I keep thinking I should probably stop teaching and just spend months on the road, traveling, singing, studying, reading, etc.
1) Geography. Louisville is perfectly located for small four/five day tours. I can leave Wednesday afternoon, and play Nashville, Atlanta, Knoxville, Asheville, and Johnson City and come home every week. Monday and Tuesday night shows are rarely well-attended anyway, so why not hang out in Louisville then? It's close to everything.
2) I actually really really love to teach. It's a disease, I'm sure. But I've taught as far back as I can remember, whether it was teaching my friends how to do back dives, or being a Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructor™ (which I still am) during college and occasionally now, or teaching swimming lessons, or teaching piano, accordion, and guitar which I do when I'm in town. I've got a small roster of students, which I've cut back tremendously and am not interested in growing, but it is so satisfying.
I had a moment this week where one of the parents was a few minutes late to pick up her kids. Not a big deal, but my next lesson was already there and waiting. So in the interim we decided to form a band. Little Eloise* took over a dulcimer made out of a Spam can (that's a whole other blog), and Chandler* was in charge of a Gourd-based Carribean thing, the name of which escapes me. Elizabeth* was rocking the Dr. John left-hand piano, while I took some leads with my right hand. We took turns making up silly lyrics.
The best part was that I think they all finally figured out why I make them count out loud while they practice. Because Chandler was only to play the Guord on beats two and four, and Eloise had to restrain her dulcimer rock instincts to beats one and three. I love that look of understanding and commitment.
"The Wheels on the Bus" has never sounded so good. Maybe it was all those wacky new lyrics we wrote. I can't wait for next week's band practice.
*names changed to protect the underage.