Wendy Charlton & Piano Lessons
I have to thank my mom for pretty much everything on this site (that I can reasonably claim at least partial responsibility for).
When I was in Kindergarten, she asked me – or first told, then asked – “We’re starting you on an instrument. Which one would you like to learn?” I asked my whole family their opinion, and, as I remember it, they roundly said: “Piano.” Why? I asked. They told me: “If you learn piano, you’ll be able to learn anything.” From a music theory perspective, I suppose this does make sense – as all the notes are spread out before you. I listened to their advice and started learning piano at age five.
I could have easily drifted away from music in those early, early years had it not been for two things: 1) I immediately sort of “got” something about it… I guess I just had an innate feel for making music from sound… but, more importantly, 2) my mom.
My mom bestowed on me a work ethic that I’ve never shaken (I absolutely do not mean that as a boast – I’m as lazy as they come, if I don’t care about the work). Every evening – every evening – without fail, she’d find me (hunting me down outside with my friends, if need be), take me inside before dinner, and make me sit at our family piano for a full and solid half hour (which sometimes felt much longer… though sometimes not), until I’d put in a “day’s work” on whatever I was learning that week. When I’d show back up at my lesson, a week later, whichever teacher it was throughout the seven years I took lessons would comment on how accomplished my grasp of the piece was – as though I was some magical pupil. Really, it was just my mom making sure that if I was going to do it, I was going to DO IT.
This has not changed. Though, my work ethic and restless interest often wage brutal battles against each other... which is a weird pairing of energies in my soul.
My mom showed me how to keep at something until it was good, and she showed me what it looks and feels like to apply yourself consistently, day in/day out, over time, and then behold the fruits of your labors. She’s all sweetness and love when you meet her (and this is genuine, for sure), but she is a tough lady, too. And my dad and brother know what I mean.
Thank you, Mom.