When I was a youngling, I took piano lessons, like many young middle-class children do.Â For the most part I kludged through the assigned material, learning it as well as I could to make it through the song mostly without error.Â We had a few other books of piano music outside of the assigned material, which I would occasionally stumble through and mostly not bother with.
There was one piece I was once assigned, however, by a composer I’d not heard of otherwise, that made me take notice.Â That song was called “Ivan Sings,” composed by Aram Khachaturian.Â It was part of a collection of eight compositions for students called Adventures of Ivan.Â I found a copy at our local music store* one day, and insisted my mother buy it for me.**Â I actually managed to learn all but the last of the compositions with some amount of proficiency.
Things happened. I moved away from home and mostly played bass instead of piano, and largely forgot about Ivan and his Adventures.
This past November, we assembled at my mother’s residence for a holiday celebration, and my sister brought with her a bundle of our old piano books.Â In it was Adventures of Ivan.Â As I have recently taken an interest in practicing keyboards again, I insisted that I take it home with me, given that it was mine, after all. I promised my sister I would replace her copy (which I did, by the way).***
I can still play most of the way through it relatively well, though I’m a bit rusty.Â All but the last song, anyway.
* Not to be confused with “record store”
** To be fair, a $5 book of sheet music is a much easier sell than some random toy or something.
*** By the way, Vriana, was it “A Tale of Strange Lands” that was missing from your copy? I only just now remembered I still haven’t got you a copy of the missing song, while I was writing all this down.