Ali & Ed: Two Musical Journeys PART #1
A story of two kids and music lessons. Two musical journeys.
I’d like to share a story about two six-year olds. These two Brooklyn kids are named Ali and Ed. They both have shown an interest in music for as long as mom can remember. They banged on pots and pans when they sat on the kitchen floor before they could even stand. They sang loudly from their stroller as they were pushed from the playground to their Pre-K. Their parents have always been kind of amazed because they themselves were never considered very musical. Sure, they each had piano lessons as kids, but they never really stuck and they hated practicing. Hated it! So, eventually mom and dad found sports and other activities. Music lessons were left by the wayside.
But now mom has a child that seems perfect for music lessons. So Ali’s mom signs up for a weekly 30 minute piano lesson at Brooklyn Music Factory while Ed’s mom signs him up for a 30 minute weekly lessons with a teacher who comes to their house. Ed’s mom loves the convenience of a house call, who wouldn’t! Ali’s mom puts up with the commute because it’s only one day a week and kinda of in the neighborhood.
This is not a story, though, about how much of a pain it is to get Ali or Ed registered, scheduled, or commuted. It’s not about kids being over booked with activities. And it’s not about the cost of lessons. Or about logistics or convenience.
It’s simply a story of two different musical journeys.
Ali and Ed each start their first year very excited. They can’t believe that they get to bang on a piano and even sing songs for thirty minutes every week with someone who only wants to make music with them. It’s actually kind of mind-blowing to them. They love music and had no idea that there were others who loved it as much as them.
Ali and Ed’s music lessons are quite different in design, though.
In addition to working out of a piano book, Ali’s lesson include a weekly game where she plays hand drums or sings solfege and even gets to sit behind a drum set. Each week is a new surprise and challenge and while she likes playing piano, she really loves getting to explore other instruments. Ed also gets gets a book on day one and is pretty enthralled by all the colorful characters and loves the challenge of having to learn to read new notation. The one key difference is that his lessons take place entirely sitting at the piano. It’s all pretty magical for both of them.
Mid Year #1
At month five, Ali plays her first gig. It takes place in Brooklyn Music Factory’s big community room on the Main Stage. She plays two short songs with a drummer and a bass player plus one other student named Harriet. It is her first time ever playing on stage and she is already playing in a band. It’s a little scary but she and Harriet become friends. Ali’s parents also meet a few other BMF families and find out that they’re neighbors have been coming for two years and their older children play in a group class called Rock, Write & Record @ Brooklyn Music Factory. It all seems pretty cool and not at all like the music lessons they remember getting as kids.
Ed, meanwhile, is still working through his beginning piano book, one lesson at a time. He does get to play in front of people, but his teacher rents a recital space once a year at the end of each year. Ed will have to wait until June for his first performance opportunity.
End of Year #1
Ali, performs on the BMF Main Stage a second time in June. This time she plays with three other students, Ben, Jill, and Stella. They have all been working on the same songs and their teachers have been working up a group arrangement. Ali also sees Harriet perform with a beginning guitar & drum student. She is still a little scared by all the people in the room but she makes three new friends and says ‘hi’ to Harriet on her way out after the gig. Ali’s mom sees two more kids she knows from the neighborhood playground and introduces herself to their parents. A mini music community is slowly forming for both Ali and her parents.
Ed, finally gets to play in a recital. The recital is held at the local public library. They have a nice piano and Ed is nervous but excited. He has learned three new songs this spring and feels prepared. He steps up on stage, though, and things change a bit. When sitting their all alone, his hands begin to sweat and he is afraid to look out at the audience. He recognizes someone from his school and that kinda helps. He eventually starts his song and performs it well. Everyone claps, he bows, and then steps down to give someone else a turn. Ed’s parents are so proud of their son.
The first year has been fun and both sets of parents are excited that their child is studying music & evengot up on stage and performed so well. Year one is a success! Or at least it appears that way….
Next Week: Two Musical Journeys PART #2
Ali joins a band. Ed gets bored.