The New Addition to Our Eco-Active Family


As I have written about a couple of times before, I’m an avid Freecycler. I like to think that I give and receive in equal proportion with a bit of ebb and flow. But, a recent Freecycle (TM) find, the new addition to our family, has left me with the urge to up my giving out of sheer appreciation. Our latest find: an antique upright piano.

Dating back to my days digging in dirt and crafting culinary creations, I have wanted a piano. We did not have one in our house growing up and I did not have much exposure to classical music as a child,  but I do remember listening to my Dad play the piano and organ on Sunday mornings at church.

My Dad did not have many hobbies that I can recall, aside from repairing things around the house, which I now realize was not really a hobby at all. When I was younger, I thought that his lack of hobbies was due to lack of interest. As I matured, I realized that raising eleven children left little room for hobbies or other personal indulgences. Whether out of pleasure or duty, he played the piano at church and I loved the sound. Learning to play the piano is one of those things on my list of things to do someday. Thanks to a fellow Freecycler, I am one step closer.

The upright piano has certainly seen it’s better days. According to the last owner, it was built in the 1930’s at a time when the maker was one of the best the in the industry, so I am told. Since that time, the maker has fallen from it’s former peak stature, but the piano still stands. The internal workings are coated in years of dust and the exterior wood is scratched and scarred. Some of the keys are chipped. But, she still sings and carries a decent tune.

The piano was posted as a great beginner piano and is exactly what we needed. With three kids, ages 5, 7 and 9 with no piano experience, but lots of enthusiasm and eager fingers, this piano is a great start. As much as this Eco-Active Family loves to engage the kids in nature-based activities, musical engagement is also key. Listening to and creating music offers more ways to engage all senses, and I like to think that it also enhances their nature-based experiences.

I like to hear them try to replicate sounds they hear in nature with whatever they can muster … their voices, musical instruments, their hands and feet, pencils, food, etc. They use rice in a paper towel roll to create the sound of rain and crashing waves; a whistle to imitate the call of a bird; the squeal of a door hinge to create the illusion of a mouse. And then there are the sounds that can be created with the musical instruments themselves when used as intended.

We have not yet decided on piano lessons. For now we are content to listen to their impromptu performances, follow their curiosity, and see where it leads.

~ Carolyn

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