From the time I was 5 years old until the drama of one night when I was 17, my life, pretty much, revolved around music. I found this rather peculiar back then, seeing that there were 2 other households on the block where I lived that had more that one talented musician in each of them, and my household had none until I came sauntering through. To my way of thinking back then, it was the parents with musical abilities who inspired the kids. At my house, music was far from being a center point. Why was I so enthralled with music? I still don’t know why.
I learned how to play the piano from the mother of one of these families. I don’t think anyone was as strict a music teacher as Mrs. K was. There I was, a little girl who had sung in the church children’s choir. I didn’t even know where middle C was. My first lesson with her was on a Thursday afternoon. She insisted that I had a small ball in the palm of each hand as she taught me my first scale. She had me go over this scale, balls still in the palms, all during the half hour I had with her. At the end of the lesson, she assigned me the scale to play at home along with 2 simple pieces of music. She didn’t play either of these songs. She just sent me on my way.
To say the least, practice time often was torture because I had no idea if I was ever playing the pieces right — that is until I had my next lesson — sometimes. Much more often than not, I had been playing the pieces wrong, and she would assign them to me for another week of practice. Even with me playing the music wrong, she would not play any of the pieces for me. I felt doomed.
I put up with Attila the Hun, who was disguised as Mrs. K., for over a year. I liked playing the piano, but her method of teaching was horrendous at best.
My mom found another piano teacher, Mrs. S., who lived 5 blocks away from my home. It was a rush on Thursday afternoons because as soon as I could get my fanny home, I was grabbing my music assignment, and running up the street hoping I wouldn’t be late for my lesson. It was worth it though. Mrs. S. always played any piece she was sending home with me.
I was making leaps and bounds in my lessons with her. After just 4 months, she informed me that I could not be considered a beginner anymore, and to consider myself an intermediate student. For a nine-year old, that’s a lot to be proud of.