Sunday, January 11, 2009

To Some Is Given One

I got to spend the other morning listening to my Uncle Lyman play the piano. He is an incredibly talented musician---but he can't read a note. I love the music he writes, and every time he comes to visit I beg him to sit down and play. And every time he comes I tell him he has GOT to have someone help him record his music, cuz there's gonna come a day when he can't play anymore and will want it. (Actually, it's me that's gonna want it. I'm selfish like that.)

He always tells me I could play that way too, but I've tried and I truly cannot. I can't play by ear to save my life. I spent many, many years learning to play the notes that were put in front of me and to play them well. Even after listening to his music over and over, I can't sit down at the piano and pick the notes out---my brain/ears don't work like that.

But what I can do is sight-read. So I figure that's where my talent comes in. That and appreciating what others can do. And I like being able to accompany for people. Especially when they have awesome voices. (Like my sister-in-law, Buffy. who is having a contest of sorts on her blog for a free haircut and style and if you live in Utah Valley you should go over there and take advantage.) I'd be a happy girl if I could make a living as an accompanist. So, I may not be able play by ear (which makes me so sad when I want Uncle Lyman music and he's not around), but I can make pretty music in other ways. So even if we don't get every talent-we all have something that we can share with others. The test is whether or not you're willing to do so.

PS-have you ever seen the movie "Where the Red Fern Grows?" How about, "On Our Own"? Uncle Lyman wrote and directed those movies. That's how awesome he is.

PPS-you have four more days to comment on the Pay It Forward post if you wanna win something.

25 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I think it's amazing that people can play by ear. I can barely sight read anymore.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

OMGOSH. You are so talented. And you are so related to a famous talented guy. I'm so jealous.

JD said...

oh barb. i don't think you give yourself enough credit. i live through my sisters' musical talent, as well.

e. said...

Did we have anything to do with Rivals aka The Stranger at Jefferson High? Because maybe he would teach me that dance super cool dance. Oh wait, you know it, don't you, Barb? :)

T said...

my brother does this - he just sits and plays and themes of different songs may dance in and out of the melody if we shout out something we want to hear... I'm always amazed. And me... sorry, I can play "Where Can I Turn For Peace" and anything else that has less than 3 flats as long as you don't want the left hand... I obviously shouldn't have quit after three lessons when I was 7 years old...

Luckily - my son seems to have inherited this talent... we're having him record onto Garage Band... that might work for Uncle Lyman if he doesn't mind playing a keyboard attached to the computer

I loved "Where the Red Fern Grows"... very well done adaptation! awesome to have talented relatives :)

Erin said...

I was never "taught" to sight read, and I was always too lazy to be self-motivated. I can't play by ear either. So, in other words, I kind of just suck. Give me a month to practice, and I can play a piece!

How fun about your Uncle Lyman!

Smart Helm said...

I'm always impressed with people who put in the effort to learn the piano. I always mean to start lessons again (stopped in 4th grade), but I know I won't practice.

A piano player AND a runner? Sorsha I worship u.

AlliSMiles said...

haha. I totally forgot that he wrote those movies. what a flashback!

Becky said...

My musical talent is pretty limited, which I used to whine about. But I've got other stuff I do well, so I'm good to go.

Too bad I couldn't have figured that out when I was 12. It would have saved me a lot of years of grief.

Deb said...

I once had a student who could play Chopin by ear. Seriously. It made me sick.

I can sight-read and accompany pretty well, but my performance-level skills are pretty much shot...I should have made recordings back in the day.

Shelley said...

As I was reading all of your comments here, I noticed how many really do have some musical talent. And here you are comparing yourself to your uncle. You apparently are really good. Hey we could use another good musical number at church...AH HA...9:00am isn't too early to be all the way up to Farr West is it?

Machen family said...

OH ok, I am so mad that Shelley just posted that because I am in her ward and noone asks me to do musical numbers in the ward! I am like you, I love to accompany people, ward choir etc. I get no respect though, the person they ask to do solo numbers is the guy who can play by ear, but can't play a note.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

I wish I had any of it. If I could have your talent or your uncle's, I would be HAPPY! I love musical people and wish I could be one.

You must make sure to record his music!

Buffy Dayton said...

Oh Babar, you are too silly, you are so awesome at the piano, and thanks for the shout out!

CaJoh said...

Play by ear— don't you play with your fingers? Glad to know you can share your talents with others… even if you don't get a headache trying to plunk out a melody with your ears.

Jen said...

I'm with you on the sight-read/play-by-ear thing. My dad can play anything, and has written some incredible music (although he's never directed Where The Red Fern Grows, so he's a little behind on the coolness meter), and I wish I could do it too. But at least he's put most of his down in some form...although it isn't the same as when he's playing.

Your Friend said...

I love how you say we may not get every talent, but we all have something we can share with others.

I love hearing people play the piano. The Five Browns astound me.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

I am back on your site today commenting, Barbaloot, but after having read that we are competing with the great commenter, Kristina P, for the Pay It Forward prize, I am not sure I have much of a chance of winning! :)

Amazing that the your Uncle directed the Red Fern movie. Both the book and the movie moved me as a child. I still remember sobbing after Old Dan died. So, so sad.

-Francesca

R Max said...

We have that Red Fern movie!

Your family is talented and therefore qualified to be on my "I'm so jealous, I hate you" list.

Hoggards said...

So barbs, here's a question for you - what's the talent I was given? Yeah, good one huh?
You are freaking awesome at the piano! I loved listening to you play back in the day. My hubby is like you and is awesome at sight reading! I love it when he plays me Les Mis songs or the Beatles and sings along!

Annie Valentine said...

Amazing!

My father does the same thing, and tells me the same thing. They just don't get it, that gift is special.

I'll be watching TBL tonight. Why aren't we neighbors??

Kimberly said...

I have to say, you're blog is probably my absolute favorite one to read...ever. It's a good mix of laughing, and really though provoking - ness. (I couldn't think of a better way to put that...so "ness" kind of just encompasses it all!) Anyway, I'm really sad that I didn't get to see you when I was in Utah. I know we haven't seen each other in years...but I should have been better at getting in touch with you!

Anyway, thanks for having this awesome post. Makes me think of my life a little differently...and by the way...I always thought your music was beautiful. I always wondered how someone with the same size of hands as me could reach the notes that I never could! :D

sara said...

I totally love Where the Red Fern Grows and On Our Own. "Hold on, hold one, we're on our own, we can make it together..."
I know all the words. That's so awesome!

Callie said...

I absolutely LOVE On Our Own!!! Great - Now I want to watch the movie again - I just have to figure out where it is!!!

Peter & Katie said...

I love On Our Own, I was going to sing the song to you too but someone else beat me to it.