Some Musical Moments | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Some Musical Moments

So Bria hates scales.  With a passion.  I can't say that I blame her, because scales are not exactly exciting and fun, but hate them or not scales must be played.

It was time to go to her lesson a couple weeks ago, and I told her to gather her books and to get ready to go.  I saw her grab a pile of books off of the table and noticed she left her scale book there.  I reminded her to get it, and she looked at me a bit sheepishly? annoyedly?  frustratedly? and admitted that she had intended to leave it at home so she didn't have to play her scales for her teacher.

I laughed at her, put the book into her bag and off we went.  The way it goes is that I drop Bria off at the Maestro's office where she works on homework until her lesson starts next door while I take Chloe to her piano lesson.  When we're done with piano, I leave Chloe and Sophia in Joel's office while I sit in on Bria's lesson which has usually been going on for about 5 minutes by the time I arrive.

Well, when I arrived, I learned that Bria had knocked on the door, immediately stated that she did not have her scale book with her, and could they please start with review pieces instead?  Later (one week later) we found her book hidden in one of the bookshelves of Joel's office.

Little stinker.


Scales aside, Bria has a pretty darn good ear.  Perfect pitch, in fact.

One morning during Christmas break, Bria was told by her father to go practice her violin.  I was (very happily) still in bed, but as they were right outside my bedroom door I heard every word of the following exchange.

It seems that Bria's violin was majorly out of tune when she picked it up, which isn't uncommon in the freaking freezing weather we've been having, and she couldn't get it tuned up by herself.  She asked Joel to tune it for her, and he--also having perfect pitch--did so without the use of the piano.

Now, Joel likes his notes a bit sharp.  So rather than tune his A at the standard 440, he prefers 444.  To a person with such plebeian ears as my own, these pitches both sound exactly the same, but not to Bria.  She took the violin from Joel, played the first two notes of her song and immediately threw a fit.

"This is not even tuned right, Dad!  You don't know how to tune a violin!!!  It doesn't even match the piano!!!!  It has to match the PIAAAAAAAAAAAAANOOOOOOOOOOOOO"

And then she burst into a fit of tears of the type that only a tween girl can cry.

Joel had no choice but to tune it back down the microscopic bit to appease her highness of the picky pitch.  And then balance and harmony was returned to our household and the world.


Chloe got a new piano piece a while ago and sat down to practice it for the first time.  It had some words to it, so she thought she'd sing it first.  So, she did, with a tune that she just made up right on the spot.

And then she went to play it.  The child reads music fairly decently when she wants to, so it amazed me that instead of playing the notes that were written on the page, she played the tune she had just made up.  And nearly perfectly, too.

She was pretty mad when I pointed out that the tune was something else entirely, and why don't we see what the notes want us to play?


Just in case you didn't know, Sophia plays the violin.  Or, so she says to anyone who will listen.  We got one of Bria's old violins out last month for her book report project (she read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and if you've read it you might understand why the violin case was germane) and Sophia started picking up the violin to play.  I've tried to work with her a bit on rhythms and things, but she doesn't listen to me.

But she does play the violin.

Just so you know.


  1. What talented girls you have. I can only imagine talent night at your house!

  2. Goodness! She really does hate them, doesn't she?!?!

    Pretty amazing on Bria's tuning demands! :-) :-) :-)

  3. I certainly admire that perfect pitch. "Wow!" is all I can say.

  4. I wish I had perfect pitch! I tried violin lessons for a few years---but for someone that had played piano for so long and never had to tune, things didn't go so well:)

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  6. Yikes! What is that last comment?

    anyway, Lara, your girls are amazing... I was enjoying your post and then I came to the part about the 44o and the 444 tuning and I was like... wow, I don't know anything about music.

    oh well. :)

  7. Oh, man. This is so far beyond where we are at our house. If I get my 11-year-old through "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on the piano at the correct tempo, I'm happy. No kidding.

  8. We rarely have musical squabbles over here...
    besides about practicing. :)

  9. Wow, looks like someone is trying to sell you something. Sorry you are getting those comments.

    I love that music is such a fundamental part of your home. I envy people with perfect pitch, and I actually love playing scales. But I might just be weird. And really, what an amazing thing you are doing teaching your girls music. Beautiful.

  10. I actually like playing scales that is...not so much when I was younger.

    I'm impressed with the perfect pitch and the tuning of instruments at your house. Very cool.

  11. I am impressed. No such pitch issues at my house, although they do try to avoid their scales. Which is why the teacher keeps a copy of their scales book at her house. No "I forgot" possible then. (Unless it is I forgot to practice and Mom didn't notice).

  12. How funny! MY dainty gyroscope produces obscene colors, too!!! What a small world!

    And I love your practicing/lesson stories. So great.

    (But that gyroscope comment? I'm just pure jealous about it. It's the most awesome spam comment I've ever seen.)

  13. I hate scales too, but a different kind.

  14. You are all such a wonderfully talented family and amazing!

  15. I have to ask: why do you have to have a book to play scales? I mean, I've seen them, and used them, and taught from them, but, you know, WWWHWWWH is the same in every language, and I would be making that little turkey play them from memory in a heartbeat.

    That said, I can only play my piano happily for the first couple of months after a tuning, because when it starts to go off, it makes me a little crazy. er.

    These are great stories about your little musicians. There's something to be said about getting two really talented people together to have children. While I love my husband dearly and wouldn't change that defining decision in my life for ANYTHING, I do sometimes lament my kids' lack of interest in anything remotely musical. I will not force the issue, but it would be nice to have one to follow in my footsteps. I guess they're young yet -- so we'll see.

  16. Lara, is your email address still lalalakme? I want to ask for your help in preparing to sing for a large group of people. Let me know please.

  17. Clever of Bria to hide it at her dad's office. ;)

    Your girls are so talented. They might fight now, but they'll thank you later.

  18. That's awesome your kids are so musically talented. I would like to get my kids into a few things, but we just don't have the money. I'll keep dreaming about it though.