I’d peer out my bedroom window which overlooked the driveway, watching for the piano teacher. Sometimes, he’d sit in his car and I think he'd never ring the doorbell (those were my happiest days) or he tried the bell so unenthusiastically, that the sound was lost amidst my mother’s constant bustle in the kitchen.
I took piano lessons because I was bribed. I wanted a guitar actually, and my mother said that a guitar would be bought IF I’d taken piano lessons for 6 months. I was an obedient child and succumbed. I hated every moment of it, I knew from the get-go that I had no interest, even less natural ability and my practise was mechanical and plodding.
My mother however, thought I was quite fantastic! She’d unceremoniously happen to call one of her friends while I was practising methodically. Oh yes, she’d say, no that isn’t the radio, that’s my darling girl.
How I dreaded Wednesdays at 4:30 and the arrival of the piano teacher. The man creeped me out. I didn’t have the language to describe how I felt, maybe he was a creep, maybe he wasn’t. Maybe we merely disliked each other in equivalent amounts and he just knew that I was not a student who adored his beloved piano.
I eventually finished my sentence of 6 months of piano lessons, and received my pretty guitar. I practised faithfully on my 5 string beauty, even entered a Winter Carnival Talent Contest…once. Soon enough however, I realized that I had no talent for the guitar either. I don’t even remember what happened to it.
This short episode of my life, so many decades ago has stuck with me. It was perhaps one of the earliest “listen to your gut” sensations that I had. And still it took so many years to stand my ground, listen to my intuition, recognize my authentic self, not be cajoled into doing something I really didn’t want to do.
Every so often I meet up with people similar in temperament to the guitar teacher and to my mother. And now I can recognize what they need of me and can consciously decide if I want to play.