I’m inordinately moved today by listening to my mother giving my son a beginning piano lesson. I spent much of my childhood listening to her giving piano lessons to kids every afternoon, sometimes bringing her a cup of coffee. I remember hearing her talk her students through their scales, through their halting simplified versions of classical pieces. I remember the more advanced students playing smoothly, her voice threading through the notes, guiding, encouraging, cheering them on. I paid no attention then, curled up in my room reading or writing my adolescent novels.
It’s only now that I realize how familiar–I can hear her as I’m typing this, gently explaining, saying “good, good” as he plays one note after another–how large a part of my life is, and has been, this particular combination of sounds.
–Catherine A. Wiley is a writer and the daughter of a piano teacher