We have a piano!!!!!!!!!!!
On a very busy Wednesday a week and a half ago, we went to a piano showroom not too far from where the kids do homeschool gymnastics, to 'start to have a look'. I initially wanted a smallish piano because we don't have a lot of spare room in our house, but Caitlin was drawn to one that was somewhat bigger than I had in mind. It was beautiful - and when I had a good look I realised that while it was taller than the others, it was the same length and depth, so would take up the same amount of floor space as any of the others. The woman showing us the pianos also pointed out that a taller piano has longer strings - so a better sound. And it did feel and sound so much better than the others when we played it - it reminded me of my Grandma's piano, so was certainly my nostalgic choice, and Caitlin wasn't interested in any of the others once she'd tried this one. I tentatively asked the price - she had to go and check - and it was in our price range!!!! (The piano is a gift from one of my wonderful uncles). It felt a bit weird to buy such an expensive item on our first outing to look at them - but this piano really felt perfect and we've been talking about it for over a year, I'd looked at this showroom online several times - and I have played a bit of piano over the years so know what I like and don't like. So we said we'd take it, and then had 5 very excited days to wait until delivery.
Last Monday the truck pulled up in our driveway to the sound of 5 very excited kids squealing (we had friends over). The delivery guys moved Buckley's balls out of the way before they got their trolley out, and happily chatted to the kids and us about pianos in general and ours in particular. The piano was wheeled into place (I still haven't reallocated all the stuff I moved out of the way to make room for it - that's a job for this week!) and after a bit more discussion (in which the guys told us that they guess it was made around 1925 - and it was definitely manufactured in Melbourne which is exciting (Its a Wertheim)) they left us to it.
The kids all had a bit of play straight away (with only slight drama about who was going to go first) and the highlight for Liam and Millie in particular was being able to open up the top and watch the hammers and strings move as it was played. This led to lots of dicussion about how a piano works, what type of instrument it is (percussion apparently), how you can make it louder and softer, how the pedals work etc. (The delivery guy had also talked to us about how the strings were set out, and I'd learnt lots of new information).
In the last week the piano has been played by everyone, multiple times a day. Caitlin has worked through both of her beginner piano books and is going back and improving her skills and starting to try music from other books. Liam and Millie are playing improvised music - Millie loves to play a 'cat song' which really does sound like a cat walking gently on the keys. She also still loves to watch in the top of the piano as other people play. I find it hard to walk past the door of the playroom without popping in to play (and I rarely resist) - I'm loving being able to sit down and play (or try) a piece, then get up and go on with what I was doing, knowing I can come back and play again any time. Tony hasn't played music before but has started to learn about reading music and playing a few simple tunes. Caitlin and I also tried a duet with me on the recorder and her on the piano - something I'd love to be able to do more of!
I love that our lifestyle has allowed us to really focus on music as much as we liked since the piano arrived, and that we can use it as much or as little as we like now that it is here - there's no pressure on anyone to play, and everyone is welcome to play how and when they want to.