“That’s a homemaker right there,” exclaimed my cousin after seeing the new keyboard that my mom purchased for my family. “Exactly,” I replied. “It’s our centerpiece and my children are discovering the joys of making their own music.”

Piano Of My Childhood

My childhood memories are filled with music. My mother frequently sang, listened to records and played the piano. Thanks to her talent, I became familiar with classical pieces, Disney music, and knew the lyrics to songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals.

My grandmother, Memaw, also owned a piano. She also played, sang and could even play organ. Naturally I grew up with the assumption that like the other women in my family, I would one day learn piano and have one in my own home.

In my youth, I danced freely while my mom played, and gathered with my family around the piano at Christmas to sing carols. Eager to learn, I took lessons and could finally play my own songs. As much as I disliked theory and practicing, I loved the feel of the keys beneath my fingers as I mastered a piece with no mistakes.

I took this love of piano outside of the house. When I went to friend’s houses who also owned a piano, I always wanted to play it. It was like a familiar friend.

As I grew, I stopped taking lessons, but was always drawn to the piano, even as a teen. Oftentimes I would walk by my mom’s at home, play a few notes, answer the siren call and decide to sit down and truly play. I would nervously do this when waiting for a boy to call, excitedly do this while waiting for my friend’s mom to pick me up, and sadly do this when my heart had been broken. Throughout my life, music has been a great source of pleasure and a therapeutic escape.

Making Music With My Own Family

The day my keyboard arrived, my husband assembled it on the spot. Once ready, I sat down and paused before my first song. To everyone’s surprise, muscle memory from decades ago kicked in. I impressed my family with my ability to remember songs and pick out melodies from popular music. It felt familiar, very at home.

On stressful days, in sad moments, or to combat boredom, I can now sit down on that bench and escape to the sounds of my own music, whether from memory, reading music, or from my own creation. I watch my children enjoy experimenting and playing their own songs, and I love that they feel the freedom and confidence to unapologetically make their own music.

I envision myself taking this love with me, even in advanced years. I once witnessed a nursing home resident filling the room and hallways with music. She had wrinkled skin, white hair, and a failing memory, yet with keys at her fingertips, something beautiful was hers again. Even though I was just a teen, she resonated with me. I can see myself one day, in advanced age, sitting at a piano and traveling back in time, but for now, I will share the joy of a musical home with my family.