My first chance at making beautiful music on the piano began when I started taking piano lessons in third grade, and it continued through my junior year in high school. Although I became pretty good, technically, I’m just not a musician.
You would think that after all the money my folks spent on lessons, they would have been disappointed that I wasn’t a better piano player, but they weren’t.
I’m nearly 70 now, and I’m good enough to play for the residents at the nursing home. I enjoy playing, so I guess it wasn’t wasted money after all.
My second chance came with our sons, who took piano lessons for a few years. One of them didn’t care for it and never really caught on, although he tried. The other one understood it better, and he still plays a little. No matter the outcome, I had accomplished my purpose — to expose my boys to as many experiences as possible.
Seven years ago, I got my third chance.
My son, who plays the piano occasionally, was playing some Christmas songs, and his 7-year-old son loved it. He ran over to me and asked if I would show him how to play. I was thrilled, even though I was sure he thought learning to play the piano was something he could be taught in a matter of minutes. I told him to ask his parents, and with their approval, my grandson and I set out on our musical journey.
I went to my son’s house once a week, and my grandson advanced in fits and starts. Thank goodness I was old enough to know that most journeys don’t go as planned. My grandson always wanted to play something different than what I wanted him to practice. He didn’t want to learn the left-hand notes, and he wanted to play the tougher songs without first going through the easy steps. I tried to get him to do it step by step, but he refused.
Things went along like that for a couple of years, with him getting a little better all the time — and me learning to be more flexible. Then we stopped the piano lessons, and I downloaded some sheet music for him from the Internet. He dove right in. Next I gave him some music books, which I thought would be too difficult for him to master. He proved me wrong. Again, he dove in, spending every free moment he had playing whatever he wanted.
Now, at 14, my grandson is an accomplished piano player, far beyond anything I can teach him.
My third chance at making beautiful music was a success — and perhaps the greatest accomplishment of my life.
Read more inspiring do-over stories by CAPPER’s readers in Stories About Second Chances.
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