Friday, December 7, 2007

Yet Another Gig Report

But this one was a little bit different.

The 11 year old plays the piano and the violin, not at the same time, but she probably could if asked. She's one of these high achieving kids, good at most things she tries and willing to try almost anything.

Qualities that any parent will understand are very worrying at times to see in your child. We all want our kids to be good at everything but, when they display bravado and chutzpah, the potential for them to attract danger at a later age is very real. It's also important to tell you, my fond reader, that I'm pleased with myself for the use of the word "chutzpah" in the previous sentence.

It's almost definitely the first time in my life that I've used the word and I've now done two of the little "chutzpah" chaps in quick succession, well that's three now I suppose.

Anyway, once a year the 11 year old, I'll call her K, has a little concert thing at around Christmas time at the house of her piano teacher. It's a small affair, only about 6 or 7 kids and a few parents and all quite informal and pleasant. In the past her mother has done the duties and taken her but this year she couldn't do it and I was asked. What with the divorce and everything I must admit to a little tug of the heartstrings when K asked me if I would come anyway, even if her mother could come too. But that's girly emotional stuff and we don't do that around here do we.

So, I arrived at the house to collect the performer and her big sister decided to come along too. K was dressed up in typical attire for a gig, a Muse gig, perhaps not this type of thing. She had on her new skinny jeans, converse allstars and one of my jumpers. I felt proud and slightly edgy. Proud because she looked like a trendy rock chick, edgy because I've been looking for that jumper for about 6 months and my joy and relief at finding it was mixed with the knowledge that I'll now never get it back.

Her piano teacher is one of those very English, very proper, very nice and very religious people and me and A, the 12 year old, sat in the dining room waiting for the kids to finish their warming up and the gig to start. There were some Mums there and I felt as out of place as usual in that environment as they talked about kids, school runs and the like and me and A talked about drums and music and clothes, normal stuff.

We were ushered into the "concert hall", which was the room with the piano in. It's a garage that has been converted into a room, so about the size of a garage, only with a piano in it. We squashed up, me, about 4 or 5 mums and some kids. It was clear that K, my scary 11 year old, was one of the older children there and the rest were all about 6 or 2 or something, I do have big problems identifying the age of these youngsters but I knew they were young.

To start with the teacher gave a short speech, which did rather touch me. She said that this was to be an informal thing to show what they have been learning and that they might have to do some things again just in case anyone went wrong. The idea of it was to give the kids an idea of the joy of performing and sharing music with others, that music is a treasure that can be enjoyed on its own but can also be so much more gratifying when shared with others.

I smiled quietly and agreed with the teacher. I also wondered how on earth any person, as nice as she is, can be born with absolutely no sense of fashion. Clearly she had fallen out of the untrendy tree and hit every branch on the way down. And I was full of understanding about the kids making mistakes and having to start again, as long as it was one of the other little bastards and not my daughter.

They kicked off, or ivoried off or whatever way pianists begin, tinkling I guess. It was quite sweet and the little kids got plenty of applause from all the mothers and me. These kids were cute, in a childish way. They were all school uniform, scuffed shoes and mischievous grins. K however, is skinny jeans, converse allstars and proper teenage attitude. No Sir, there's no childish stuff going on with her.

After a few tunes K came on and did her first one. She played it very well and I was astonished at how much I could feel myself willing her on. It was a surprising mentality that I found myself in. I normally pride myself on being liberal about making mistakes when I'm playing live, treating them as part of the performance and learning curves. But, stick one of my daughters up on a stage and I was uttering a silent prayer for her to play the piece flawlessly.

After that a boy of about 8 or 9 did a piece and managed to play with more aggression and steely determination on his face and actually in every visible part of his body than even Dave Grohl displayed in the video for No One Knows. I urge you to google that video and have a look, then imagine a young kid playing a slightly mellow piano piece with that amount of resoluteness and firmness in every note. He was mesmerising to watch and I was as fixated as I was when I once witnessed an incident at Barefoot involving a twig, Naz Sansoni's navel and some of her young admirers.

This kid, the piano one not one of the navel ones, was so rivetting that I don't think any of the mothers or myself actually breathed while he was playing his piece. It was handy that he was only playing quite a short little song and not Dazed and Confused or Paranoid Android.

Watching these other children is all sweet and parenty but frankly I was only interested in K and her skill and talent. She came back and did another piece, something by Beethoven or Mozart and I watched, as did her sister, silently willing her on. She was totally brilliant. There's a natural love of performing in her and her sister and I know not where they get it from, but I knew that she wallowed in the moment and luxuratied in the brief applause.

I also knew, not that it matterred to me in the slightest of course, that she was so much better than the others. Even mental kid, who came back on later and played some sort of slow number with the feel, sensitivity and subtlety of Mervyn Silva paying a courtesy call to the Canadian High Commision, wasn't as interesting to watch.

It was nice, a bit warming and a bit Christmassy. We finished up, I dropped them back to their mother and went off to a Mimosa band practice.

As I drove into the night I reflected on the words of the piano teacher and thought about how very right she was.

Music is such a joy to have in your life, but it's so much better when you can share it with others.


Darwin said...

That sounds pretty sweet:)

Damith-TS said...

A warm and touching story :)

Bea said...

makes me want to have kids, very lovely

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Thank you for the compliments