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The #2 Reason Kindergartens Need Pianos

Too chatty at school and too sassy at home.

But that's the only thing I ever remember consistently getting in trouble for. I also remember being friendly, polite, and shy in new situations. Of course, I am not known for my memory, so I may be forgetting something. In fact, I cannot imagine how entirely blank my mind would be had I not begun a lifetime of piano playing a month before my sixth birthday (music works wonders on your brain). Incidentally, my most vivid memory from kindergarten centers around a piano.

But there is no playing involved.

There is only secret giggling and hushed chatter. Chatter that shouldn't be happening because it is nap time, and Chatty Cathy knows the very worst place for secret chatting is a big, open room with no audio or visual barriers.

This is where upright pianos become invaluable in a kindergarten classroom.

Since we were allowed to place our nap towels where we wanted, I and my two cronies took cover behind the brown, wooden fortress wall of the piano and giggled away in our secret place. We could just see around the edge of the piano into the big, open room filled with kids laying on their respective towels in rows resembling army barracks. But we couldn't see the teacher, and therefore, she wasn't aware of us.

I was in the middle of course. I was forced into learning the art of tactful negotiation at the ripe old age of five by two girls who argued daily over who got to be my partner in various activities. I chose based on who won the day before. A five year old is never perfectly fair, however, and feelings inevitably got hurt when policy was broken in favor of the girl I preferred slightly over the other.

In any case, one of us must have laughed one too many times after the teacher's initial warning, because it wasn't long before she came over to fish us out of hiding and instruct us to find a plain, old, boring, and lonely spot for our towels in the middle of the room. Sigh, time to daydream. Napping was out of the question; falling asleep remained a struggle all the way until my mid-twenties.

It's all a matter of perspective. Pianos are great for teaching music, of course, but sometimes strengthening young friendships through illegal conversing can be just as valuable.

Now if only they'd realize how a strategically overturned desk can teach the art of finding quick cover in combat, we'd be seeing some real skill acquisition heading into first grade.


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