As the eldest of four girls, I was a bit of a guinea pig when it came to taking lessons in various things. It started when I was pretty young. A next door neighbor, who we affectionately called Uncle Ronny, was to teach me how to play the accordion. That was a pretty lofty goal considering his student was not strong enough to actually hold up the accordion and play at the same time. That did not last long.
A few years later, we rented an organ and a woman came to the house to teach me to play it. Now here was an instrument I could handle. Except that I couldn’t wrap my head around what I was supposed to be doing with my fingers at the same times as I was working the pedals. (I believe that I may have been a bit too distracted by those pants to effectively play anything, but hey, it was the 70s.) I struggled for a while and eventually the organ went back and the teacher stopped coming.
Next I joined the band in grade school. I chose flute and when I had to try out, somehow miraculously when I blew across the top of the flute, sound came out. I came home with that beautiful, shiny, silver flute in the purple velvet case. I was so excited. However, problems arose when it came to actually making the sound come out and pressing the keys at the same time. For a while I faked the sound and just played with the keys. Eventually they got wise to me though and I ended up giving up on that pursuit. Yes, I was a band drop-out.
My final foray into the world of music lessons came in high school. I took a piano class in my freshman year. Perhaps now that I was older, my musical skills had developed. Nope. For my final I had to play “Mary had a Little Lamb.” You’d think I could have nailed that, right? Nope. As I finished my solo for the teacher, he told me, “You have excellent finger control. But absolutely no musical talent. Try typing.” Harsh, yes, but in hindsight he was probably right.
I tried swimming lessons in grade school as well. That wasn’t a complete failure. While I still am not the greatest at swimming, I love being in the water. My strokes are still more of a dog paddle than anything, but in that class I was able to tread water longer than anyone else. #Win.
I also took sewing lessons for a while at the Singer store in the mall. I was ok at making square things, but when it came to making clothes, not so much. For our final project, I made a shirt. It looked so cool in the pattern, but when I put it on, I had to keep one arm outstretched for it to fit. Hence, the demise of my career as a seamstress. I did however put my sewing skills to work last year and made a quilt for my parents, and have knocked out a few Halloween costumes, so not a total loss there either.
Perhaps the oddest lessons I got were when my mom sent me to Charm School in a local mall. I cannot remember a single charming thing I learned there except how to pivot on the runway—a skill I surprisingly rarely use. The final day of Charm School we had a fashion show in the mall. Last time I ever used my pivot skills.
So what are your memories of lessons growing up? Share them with us in the comments, and more importantly, share them with your family.