reading, or just cruising

It's one of those subjects that I've got to admit I'm
just plain jealous.

Most of the List members are of that age, where they
don't know the days before MTV, before TV for that
matter. When all there was was RADIO, and even that
was controlled by the Quirks.

In my day, I was expected to take music lessons. On an
instrument not of my choice, at a time of not my
choosing. It meant classical studies, learn to read,
different instruments, all instruments. I perservered,
but there was no joy. Then one day, in a foolish
moment, my mother decided to hire a "schoolkid" (I
think he must have been 20) to be my new piano
teacher. After a cursory introduction, she left us to
go to the market.

After a suitable 30 minutes of the classic Chopin
etudes, he started on this thing he called "Boogie
Woogie". and "RagTime".

To this day I can't adequately explain the effect this
had on me. At once (I mean just that half-hour), I
understood what the piano could do. And to this day I
think my love of music stems from that very moment.

But, as always, these stories have an ending. Mom came
home, and heard the "racket". Outraged, she threw out
my new hero, treathning him with arrest if he ever
showed up again. I was subjected to umpteen lectures
about "Negro" music.

I'm proud that even at that young age I knew that
wasn't right. And I'm ashamed that I grew up in a
supposed liberal environment that still believed in
that nonsense.

But for the upside: I knew how to read a score. The
library (It cost me my weekly allowance) had sheet
music!! The church had an organ!! Well, just imagine
boogie-woogie on a real bellows organ! The funny thing
is that the rector left me alone.

So all these years later, I ask myself if this could
have worked out if I didn't, at the least, have a
basic ability of reading music? Or is it that these
days of multi-media-everywhere one can hear anything,
anywhere; and with the gift of "ear" be a musician?


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