Music was a big part of my life growing up. My Granny lived in a small 4 room cold-water flat in Verdun, but still made room for her piano. Granny went to school at a convent and was taught to play piano by the nuns. She played piano during hymn-sing for her ladies church group. When I was about 6-7 Granny gave her piano to my Mom, and the next fall I started Royal Conservatory piano lessons. My teacher was very strict, rapping my hands with her pencil every time a made a mistake. My mother also took piano lessons, and my older brother took accordion lessons. When my little brother was old enough he started piano lessons too, and that year at the annual recital we did a piano trio. When I became a teenager I wanted to learn the songs on the radio and my teacher was appalled! So I quit the lessons after Grade 7 and figured out my favourite songs myself on our piano at home. I painstakingly put every note on the staff, changing this one or that one, until I got it written down just right. Our piano sat in a nook off the living room, beside a floor to ceiling window and it was a haven for my emotional ups and downs during my teen years, putting it all in the music. I also learned from a friend how to play the ukulele, and this I would play on long family trips in the car.
When my grandparents came to visit, Granny would play the piano and I loved listening to her sing. Everyone would gather around and sing along, especially Grampa with his big booming voice. She started off with her favourite hymns then went to my Grampa's and Mom's favourite war songs. Sometimes my parents' friends would come over and then it would be old English pub songs. What a time we had!
On my Dad's side of the family, his 2 brothers both played the piano. When they were young they lived upstairs from a piano teacher who gave them lessons. My Dad always wished he could play, but he just didn't have the knack. His talent was carpentry. Every year around Christmas time the Seale's would get together and after eating we would all gravitate to the piano and start with singing Carols, and move on to the popular songs.
I inherited the ear for music, but unfortunately not the discipline or the talent. That means I can hear mistakes but can't help making them *sigh*. At my grade 6 exams I barely passed the practical, while getting First Class Honours on the theory. If you have an ear for music, you can probably learn languages easier, which I always like to do.
Do you have an ancestor that attended a music school? Following are a few links to music schools and programs, many having a roll of students in the back. You can also check for info on historical music schools at the local library.
UPDATE: After writing this article in preparation to upload on Monday, I learned today (Friday) that the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music has received a gift of $2.8M for training teachers to teach music in schools. FABULOUS! Read about it here.
The Montreal Conservatory of Music 1899
Toronto Conservatory of Music Year Book 1914
Yearbook - Royal Conservatory of Music 1918 and 1920
Graduates, 1881-1953 Philadelphia Musical Academy
School of Music - Wallace College - Berea, Ohio 1908
Ward-Belmont School Conservatory of Music Catalogue 1929
Alabama College Bulletin: School of Music 1924
Alabama Technical Institute and College for Women Bulletin: Proceedings of the First Annual Music Conference for the State of Alabama, Feb 1920
The School of Music of Ripon College, Wisc 1910
Brigham University Music Program 1948
Bulletin of School of Music, Saint Clara College, Wisc: 1910
School of Music, Northwestern University, Evanston, ILL
Lebanon Valley College Catalogue: Department of Music Bulletin - PA
Calendar and Syllabus: Toronto College of Music - 1909
Catalogue of the Oxford College of Music, Ohio 1910
Hardin College and Conservatory of Music - Mexico, Missouri 1911
Southern Presbyterian College and Conservatory of Music Catalogue - NC 1910
Music Bulletin, Loyola University, New Orleans
Ontario Ladies' College and Ontario Conservatory of Music and Art, Whitby 1911
Yearbook, Philadelphia Conservatory of Music - 1947
Undergraduate Students of the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music IN- OPUS
New England Conservatory of Music - The Neume
American Theatre's carnival for Britain organized by the American Theatre Wing of the British War Relief Society, Incorporated : Radio City Music Hall – 1941
Souvenir programme : Grand Festival, Carnival, Kermesse and Concert held at Mechanics Pavilion, San Francisco, February 25th to March 2d, 1895 : for the benefit of the New French Hospital
The history of the Royal Academy of Music w/ biographical sketches
Royal Normal College and Academy of Music for the Blind (1873 and +)
Opera singers : a pictorial souvenir, with biographies of some of the most famous singers of the day – 1901
Related Post: School's Out