Posted by: roamingolivia | December 1, 2010

What I remember – Peter and the Wolf

When I was in kindergarten, I think, we went to see a performance of Peter and the Wolf, from what I assume was a visiting orchestra because I lived in Greenville, Texas, which didn’t have tons of resources for something like that. I guess you never know, though. (Hm, in fact a Google search would indicate that it was probably this program by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, which has apparently taken culture to the Northeast Texas masses since 1974.)

Anyway, this experience is one of my earliest and strongest memories of music. I don’t know if I always loved music, but I remember being totally captivated by this performance, at age 5 or 6. Around the same time, I started playing piano, and continued to play for maybe 12 years. I don’t think that my love of piano was directly related to Peter and the Wolf – that would be a bit strong – but I was explaining this memory, and how it is one of my strongest memories from kindergarten, to my brother’s girlfriend last week. She’s a classical musician, and didn’t look entirely enthused when I mentioned the piece and how much I’d loved it. Apparently they always have to go play it for children, and it is not necessarily the best audience for classical music.

I am thinking about piano more and more lately, and wish I had a way to keep playing. In 1999, I gave a senior recital – a public performance – for family and friends. I hate public performing/speaking/whatever so much that I was more or less unable to continue playing piano for a few years, and now I am very rusty. But I do miss it, and I wish I could go back to it. (Obstacles to fulfilling this dream include: pianos are huge, and expensive.)

In addition, I would like to go back to my childhood and re-take music theory, which I always thought was entirely pointless as a child but it turns out was rather important. I really had no interest at all about what an interval was or how music notes related to each other; I just wanted them to sound nice.

I remained ignorant on the importance of this information until approximately last year, when I read The Rest is Noise, the most-cited book on this blog (perhaps not coincidentally the only other book I have ever read about music). TRIN taught me why these things matter, by somehow revealing to me that those intervals and doing various organisations of them on purpose (i.e., not always just because “they sound nice”) is what music – and the discourse and composition of music over time – is about.

Weird. I wish I’d known. Someone should have told the girl listening to Peter and the Wolf. If explained the right way, I think she would have been interested.



  1. We also had one of those children’s piano like keyboard with stock cards of music and color coded keys and music. You also played with it a lot. Do you remember that friend of mine that was a missionary’s wife? Her name was grace, and she taught you a little bit of music. Then, of course, there were the other lessons with Rhonda Davis. We tried to raise you up “in the way you should go” — like the Bible advises. We still have that piano that Dad bought– not “just” for you, but hoping the others would play it , too. It is silent now.

  2. I grew up surrounded by classical music in this way, but with my dad teaching the Suzuki method (which emphasises learning by ear and does not focus heavily on sight-reading or musical theory) that sort of background was not huge in my life either. My mom would lead kindergarten-age classes of music and movement though (including moving and dancing to such music as Peter and the Wolf!) Maybe something for you?

    I was not always a willing cello student, but it was a regular part of my life all the way up to when I went off to college (from about age 5.) Its always hard to say what if about these things (like, what if i had practiced harder? What if I hadn’t been so lazy as a teenager? Would I have been able to do this as a professional?) But being able to always appreciate the music has never gone away (maybe not for you either?) I don’t think there’s anything that precludes you from reconnecting with this in the future…I know myself that I dearly miss my cello now and look forward to taking it out again, if only for myself to enjoy.

  3. We have a piano here you are welcome to play! it’s not a ‘good’ one i.e. needs tuning and stuff but you can come and practise till your hearts content. And when you’ve finished, you can play with the puppy. what a deal!

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