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That's What She Said: How Piano Lessons Led to Prozac

Published for Now Salt Lake on September 2nd 2011

I’ve always admired girls who rock. In fact, I tried to be one of them. There weren’t a lot of options when it came to music lessons in the country, so I tried my hand at the piano with the grand idea of being a famous pianist.Sadly, I had no talent and more specifically no rhythm. My piano teacher refused to give up on me and thought it would help if she tapped the beat on my back. I’m sure the tapping was gentle, but I was convinced she was beating me. My mother’s solution was a maroon metronome, which didn’t help. To this day, the sight or sound of a metronome gives me a fit of anxiety. However, I didn’t give up … mostly because my mother wouldn’t let me. She still held onto her dream of a musical daughter, so I stuck with piano lessons.

A few years passed and I still wasn’t any good, but convinced myself I could be an amazing keyboardist. Remember this was the late ’80s and keyboard riffs were all the rage. I continued my music lessons and planned my rockstar future. I crimped my hair, spent my allowance on hot pink legwarmers and named my future band the Prozac Barbie Dolls. I didn’t fully understand the implications of the name, but loved how the word ‘Prozac’ sounded after seeing an article about it on the cover of one of my mother’s nursing magazines.

This was the year Santa brought me my own electric keyboard. Unfortunately he forgot to bring my mother a lifetime supply of Advil and Prozac and this was also the year I quit my piano lessons. My mother gave up her dream of a musician daughter, and I gave up my dream of becoming the lead singer of an all girl band.Seven years of lessons and thousands of dollars spent and all I got were a couple lousy mnemonic tools to remember piano scales. But wait! I also ended up with an appreciation for other girls who COULD rock.

Enter my fanatic girl band phase where I only listened to music from The Bangles. Eventually I moved on and started listening to additional all girl bands: 7 Year Bitch, Indigo Girls, Azure Ray, Spice Girls and Au Revoir Simone have all remained some of my favorites.

I wasn’t able to fulfill my mother’s dreams, but who knows, perhaps someday I’ll have my own daughter who aspires to be a musician. Until then, I’ll continue to listen to other women who rock.

Comments

  • I was wondering if you’d ever heard of a female singer named Mary Prankster? Very garage band, a little headbangy but none the less, very cool. She cusses like a sailor. One of her songs, and my personal favorite, is called “Mercy F*ck”. Someone made a CD of several songs for me and sadly it broke when I wrecked my car in May. Anyway, you “might” like it…I’m reluctant to recommend it to certain people due to the nature of her language. But I don’t think you’d be too offended! :)

  • Julie, I can’t wait to check her out!

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