I now know why Gloria Estefan keeps telling me “the rhythm is going to get me”. Today, I learned the difference between rhythm and beat. Yes, I realize this is something most 4-year-olds know. I realize it’s something Big Bird probably pondered and figured out on Sesame Street. Somehow, it’s something I just didn’t think about. Or maybe I just never thought enough about it to decipher the difference.
Today, I hear rhythm in everything. The perfect case of learning something with my kid. My daughter’s music school doesn’t know it, but we’re getting a 2-for-1 deal. A few months ago, she fell in love with the violin, but her fingers are too little. So, I compromised. I signed her up for piano and explained it would be a great foundation for her to learn to read music. She agreed.
I never took lessons as a kid. It was always something I wish my parents had signed me up for. I wish they had signed me for it soon after I walked. There’s something about being a kid and learning. It becomes second nature. Not to mention, it never hurts to practice something every day to achieve a goal. Especially, if you love it, as my husband, daughter and I do. Why not learn discipline by practicing something you love?
My husband was taught to read music by his mother at a young age. He started on the piano and then switched to the alto saxophone in middle school. He sometimes starts his sentences in “this one time…” Okay, I had to share the American Pie reference because he was pretty much a band geek. In high school, that seemed like the geek squad. As an adult, I’m envious that he has perfect pitch and can play anything that he hears on the piano or saxophone.
Band geeks are always cool in hindsight. Much cooler than the captain of the football team, if you ask me. Most former football heroes have traded their six-pack abs for a six pack of beer. I mean, how many end up going pro?
We haven’t splurged and purchased a piano. In fact, I’m not sure we ever will. I may need to find a great rental deal or, maybe, if she keeps it up, we’ll buy a used one. Right now, she plays on an old Roland Fantom keyboard with a manmade music stand to hold her lesson book. The owner of the school tells me it sounds different than a real piano, but he’s not willing to give me $6k to buy a piano, so, for now, it’ll have to do. Not to mention, he robs me of the good wine and mid-priced restaurants by sending me a bill every month.
The reason why we are getting a 2-for-1 deal is that I have to help her practice everyday. And, since I never learned to read music, I have to sit in the room during her lessons. I’m secretly learning to play the piano along side her. Full note, half note, quarter note… 1 count, 2 count, 3 count, four… Cha, cha, cha… Okay, that is how much I have rhythm on the brain today.
Today, the teacher told me to have my daughter focus on finding rhythm in everything we do and say. To focus on the syllables of sentences and count the beats that make up the rhythm. It’s incredible how this has made me hear rhythm in everything around me. In the neighbor hammering in their backyard. In the icemaker revving up and building ice. In my daughter repeating the same request over and over again.
For the first two hours, it was amazing. Now, I feel like John Williams put a black mask on me. Now, I feel like I’ve got Gloria Estefan on repeat. The rhythm is literally getting me.