I was very late in being introduced to the piano, I don’t know why as there was a proliferation of musical talent in the family, but I was at least twelve, if not thirteen years of age before my parents sought a music teacher to instruct me in the art of playing the pianoforte.
My first piano teacher was lovely, she was cheerful and I think I got on quite well with her for a year or two and would probably have continued had she not suddenly become very popular. Soon after I started piano lessons my brother also commenced with the same teacher and for a while we both visited her house a short distance away for our weekly lessons. It was when my parents decided that my sister should start lessons that a problem was encountered, our music teacher just couldn’t take any more pupils so it was decided I should forfeit my lessons with Mrs Williams and have tuition with another local teacher of some renown for her results and also her eccentricity. She had a good success rating with her pupils and after interviewing me commenced giving lessons at our house which she visited on a weekly basis.
Oh, it was so slow, unlike Mrs Williams who would progress rapidly from piece to piece, this new teacher required perfection, with a capital P. She had me working for weeks on a single piece, first one hand and then weeks on the other, finally after a month or two allowing me to put the two hands together. Oh it was dreary, I dreaded the lessons, she was nice enough but I was getting nowhere and I think it was about a year when it was decided enough was enough and I dispensed with the lessons. I was too late starting anyway and I was getting nowhere.
Around this time I started to become interested in the guitar and the theory of music I had acquired was soon put to good use in understanding chord structures and interpreting them from the guitar to the piano. I soon learned to vamp my way through modern pop songs on the piano which was to become very useful in my first job where there was an electronic organ. I was the only one who could get a decent tune out of that instrument and I was able to entertain the youngsters with my scaled-down renditions of their favourite songs of the era.