I remember watching child musical prodigies on Blue Peter when I was a kid. They were always East Asian, right? I mean, that’s not just my blinkered prejudice – they were all from China or Japan or Korea or Singapore or somewhere East Asian, right? I used to watch with equal mixtures of admiration and jealousy, cursing my luck I didn’t have parents from the Far East.
My prejudices remained until I came to Japan. I expected everyone to be some kind of musical genius. In fact, their pop music is just as banal and awful as ours. Actually, that’s not fair – it’s much worse. Check it out if you like but if your ears start bleeding, don’t blame me. You have been warned.
Despite what seems like an inability to write or perform a decent pop song, children and music lessons go hand in hand; and it was not much of a surprise when some of our friends bought us this Kawai toy piano as a birthday present for our eldest. It’s not cheap as you can see, but highly popular. It may have something to do with the story that Nobuyuki Tsujii, the piano genius, had played one when he was a two year old. As he grew up to be this good, many parents went out and bought a Kawai piano (in fact, it became a selling point) in the hope that some magic lay within its plinky-plonky-planky notes.
There didn’t. Or at least in ours. Most of the time, we were subjected to noises like this:
We could’ve organised lessons I guess. We’ve all been told how important music lessons are if we want to secure the future happiness of our children. But lessons involved other things, like weekend recitals, and competitions, and suits with bow ties, and monster parents trying to outdo each other on who was the most upper-middle of upper-middle class. Maybe later. Five is a bit early, isn’t it?
Anyway, we sold it. And got them a cheap second-hand Casio keyboard. Its beeps and boops were more pleasing than the plinks and plonks. It’s not so serious as the refined Grand Piano, and maybe we are denying our children the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. But Orbital have done alright for themselves too.
Photo credit: thebluegrassspecial.com