We have a little toy keyboard, which we got as one of the very first presents when children filled our house. It has sat in the music box and still gets pulled out from time to time for a bit of a living room jam. From before Rhys could walk, he has been attracted to music, he played the keyboard key by key with meticulous precision, in comparison to his siblings who did the standard toddler multiple key smash!
Times have moved on, and although the small toy keyboard still remains with the other instruments, we have upgraded to a full size unit, with full size piano keys, beats and lights.
“Ready” shouts Rhys.
I position my hand on the keyboard and press the G key, initiating the tune. Two little hands are placed on his head, as Rhys enacts the song, now for the fifteenth time!
“Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes” he sings. Each word linked into the correct key as I move up and down the keyboard. As I come to the end of the tune, I pause once again and a little voice announces, “Ready” his hands on his head ready for another round.
I have not yet got him to play any notes, but this is a new development. A task of engagement where Rhys is asking me to play the song, and as I play he joins in with the words and actions. Bit like a duo 🙂
My plan is to use Rhys’ love for music, and through my playing introduce him to the love of pressing the keys in sequence himself. I am no Mozart or Chopin but I am proud of my lockdown goal of playing the keyboard. So far I have three songs in my musical cv – Heads/Shoulders, Wheels on the Bus and Twinkle Twinkle! So not quite at the level to knock out a Sunday Service, but I am confident that I can play one of those songs by ear the next time a piano presents itself!
There is a lot of research around the strong link between autism and musical ability. It will be lovely to see Rhys play one day, but for now the engagement and fun we are having is enough.
It is like an old movie or Christmas card as I sit at the modern piano playing while everyone gathers around and sings – well that is the image I am going to portray to everyone! It is actually a bit more chaotic and repetitive. But we are both having fun.
Watch out Von Trapps, we got this!