Ticklin’ the Ivories: Delve into Music at the Library

Author patiently waiting her turn for her piano lesson

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Unbeknownst to many people in my adult life, I am a classically trained pianist. Like many kids growing up in the 80’s my parents were sticklers about us learning how to play the piano. Being the youngest I saw my older siblings take lessons, practice at home, and I attended their recitals before it was finally my turn! I was so eager to start this undertaking that our piano teacher took me on at a younger age than she normally would have. It was love at first sight!

My love for the piano would continue to grow and I would take lessons throughout high school. While others were saving up to buy cars I was saving up to buy a full-sized electronic piano with all the fancy gadgets like a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) so I could have access to hundreds of sounds other than just the piano. I moved to Eau Claire (thus needing the portable piano) to attend the university anticipating a degree in Music Therapy.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how one looks at it), as the years went by I realized more and more that piano and I were slowly drifting apart. Oh sure, we would still see each other on occasion when I went home to visit the family, but in the end, we just weren’t meant to be. I completed my lessons long enough to earn my minor in music but by that time I had switched gears and was focused on graduating with a degree in English Lit. Piano and music were such a big part of my life for so long that at that time I would’ve never fathomed our split. I think a big wedge in our relationship was the culture shock when I moved to Eau Claire and realized that instead of the big fish I was now an average fish. I think back to those days and have fond memories but I know we were just too different and needed to go our separate ways.

A sample of the library’s music collection

Which brings me to the present day. Here at the library we have a team of people who are involved in collection development. For someone who loves books and has gone back to school specifically for librarianship, it’s very exciting for me to help select the books that the library circulates. We recently did some rearranging of who buys for what area and I am now the proud owner of buying books for our music collection. Did you know that we have music books you could check out?

We can’t compete with the university’s collection of about 4000 books, but we have a modest collection and we are continuously adding to it and always looking for suggestions. And if the piano isn’t your gig, don’t worry! Many of the books are a combination of songs for piano, vocals, and guitar. We also have books for just the guitar, banjo, and ukulele, and other random instruments. Our genres are vast ranging from Broadway, Disney, chart toppers from all the decades, Christmas, religious, and the classics like Chopin, Beethoven, Ragtime and Blues. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Don’t know how to play an instrument? We have books teaching you how to play, and we even have some of the instruments available for checkout or to tinker with during our Dabble Box open labs.

If you’re not quite ready to take on this new relationship we have other ways for you to slowly become acquainted. We have hundreds of books about the music industry, music in general, various composers, singers and bands. Don’t forget about the CDs you can check out to listen to your favorites and we also have vinyl kits available to check out. And did you know about our digital platform Freegal? You can download up to 5 songs per week and have unlimited streaming! You can even make playlists and share them with the library. (Check out my playlist below of some of my favorite classical music).

I don’t know if the piano and I will every truly rekindle our relationship, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and it might be time to reach out and see how things are going. Maybe we’ll be able to make things work this time, or maybe we’ll just look at each other from afar and smile at once was.

From Our Catalog

From Our Catalog

Freegal Playlist