My wonderful parents have always encouraged their children to develop their talents, and as such, they have supported each of us with years of piano lessons. I first began learning to play the piano when I was in about the 3rd Grade. My very first piano teacher would come to our home each week to teach me the basics and encourage me to practice just a little bit better and more often. After a year or so, my mother began taking me to her home each week for the lesson. She was a very kind and patient teacher, and I loved taking lessons from her.
I don't remember exactly why, but after several years I switched over to the piano teacher who taught most of the children in my little town who took piano lessons. This teacher was very popular with the parents, and possibly she had not had any openings before when I was ready to begin lessons. She was the organist in our local congregation for many many years, and a talented and dedicated pianist and organist. She had the reputation among the other kids of being very strict, but over the years I found her to actually be quite kind and patient, even though it must have been somewhat exasperating for her that I dedicated so little time and effort to my practicing. It wasn't that I didn't like playing the piano, because I did. It's just that so many other things were always calling out for my attention . . . Gilligan's Island, The Brady Bunch, and my latest library book to name a few.
In spite of my lack of dedication to practicing, my mother and my teacher both encouraged me to continue with my piano lessons, so every week I would spend my half hour at her home going over different piano pieces and hymns, and try to remember to push myself to practice at least a little bit each week, right up until I left home for college. I never did become an accomplished musician, but I did learn enough to be able to play some simple tunes for my enjoyment, and to accompany a congregation as they sing many of the hymns.
Several weeks ago I was approached by an acquaintance on a Sunday morning at church. She mentioned that I had been volunteered to accompany the congregation at a meeting that evening, and had anyone asked me about it? Actually, no one had mentioned that fact to me, but luckily, (especially since my name was already printed on the program) the hymns that had been chosen were both ones that I had practiced as a young woman, and with a few minutes of review that afternoon, I was able to satisfactorily play the hymns that evening. They may not have been quite up to tempo, and they definitely weren't perfect, but I think I did ok. I am grateful for the blessing of having taken piano lessons for so many of my growing up years, and for the patient encouragement and support of my teachers and my parents.