Grandmother of Europe
(Photo: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, with Felix Mendelssohn at the piano) Queen Victoria would be 200 years old this year. She died on this day, January 22, in the year 1901. There are many stories to share about Victoria – her 63-year reign as Queen; 37 grandchildren; 42 great grandchildren, many of whom married into other monarchies, which gave her the name “Grandmother of Europe”; that she spoke no less than seven languages; and the list goes on. But how many folks are aware that Victoria was also an accomplished pianist and singer? Not only Victoria, but her husband Prince Albert as well. In fact, it was music that helped bring the couple together in the first place. When Victoria first met Albert, in Kensington Palace, she heard him playing the piano and singing. The attraction was mutual, and the couple commonly sang and played piano duets together. Both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had a close relationship with Felix Mendelssohn, who often visited the couple in their various palaces. When Mendelssohn realized how much the royal couple enjoyed playing duets together, he even went so far as to send them a special arrangement of his “Scottish” Symphony. Like Queen Victoria, most musicians are not in the business of making music. That said, to be a successful musician – for work or pleasure - requires lots of personal energy in the form of practice and instruction. If someone of Queen Victoria’s stature can see the value in becoming a successful musician, what’s keeping you from it? Why are you reading this and not practicing?!