Aviva doesn’t want piano lessons, but lately she has been figuring out a lot of songs by ear–everything from Adele to The Jungle Book.
With both piano and poetry, I was taught to learn to read the music first, to internalize the rules of form before I could rightfully start breaking them down. I began taking piano lessons by choice when I was about Pearl’s age, and continued until my teens before abandoning lessons.
These days when I sit down to play, I usually improvise, leaning forward into the imperfect results of an undisciplined practice. But George Winston’s “Thanksgiving” was one of the first songs I played by ear, sometime in high school, and I return to it every so often, when I don’t know what else to play or just feel like writing, without all the words.