grandpa's piano


I love this old out-of-tune piano….

I fell in love with it when I was little. I’d go to Grandma and Grandpa Cunningham’s house and listen to Grandpa play. He was self-taught and couldn’t play anything fancy but that didn’t matter.

He would play and sing little ditties he had picked up over the years. I would sit on his lap, put my hands on his hands, and pretend it was me playing. There was nothing in the world like sitting at Grandpa’s piano. 

Within a couple of years my parents bought me a piano and I started taking lessons. Oh, geez I hated lessons…I hated reading NOTES. I just wanted to listen to the radio and try to play by ear. I loved that.

A few years later I got in my first band. We learned the music by taping a song when the DJ played it on the radio (I’m really dating myself by saying “taping” and “DJ”). Then we would listen over and over. Play, stop, rewind. Play, stop, rewind.

I remember someone telling me to listen to the bass line and it would tell me how the chord progression went. That was the key!

I went on to other bands after that first one. Then studied music and music therapy in college. Now I have been a music therapist 32 years, and a music therapy professor for 25 years. And my lifelong love affair with music (and the piano) continues every day.

Grandpa’s piano was the start of it all. I wish every kid had one.