I spent the summer of 2001 making music on the Mediterranean near Santa Pola, Spain in a small apartment overlooking the sea. I fondly remember the sun, the heat, the paella, the wine, the flowers, and the nightly walks along the seaside promenade.
Now to the story.
I had had big plans of dragging my portable piano to Spain. At the check-in counter in Toronto the agent promptly rejected the piano in the lovely crate I had built. The airline won’t let me check it as baggage because they said it was as big and heavy as a coffin. Dejected I sent it home in an in-law’s car trunk. As luck would have it, I had another in-law in Spain with an old unused Casio keyboard of sixty-five keys, one pedal, a stand, and books of Bach and Chopin.
I set up that keyboard in a window with the ocean view. Then I started playing during the long afternoon siestas. Bach, Chopin, and I quickly fell in love. Apparently so did my new neighbors who, unbeknownst to me, heard me practicing hours on end through that open window.
Back in Canada I started asking about for a “Classical” piano teacher. A professor from McMaster University recommended Leon Karan. I set up a lesson. It didn’t go well. I banged through some scales and thumped out my Bach. Though I was embarrased and humiliated, Leon was kind. After I recovered, he said, “you are of course going to do your ARCT?” “I am?” Five thousand hours later I earned an ARCT diploma in piano pedagogy and won a national scholarship. Thank you, Leon, for your patience. You changed my life.
Revised August 2022
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted percussionist and drum teacher.