This is not a picture of our actual piano, but in my mind it was something like this:
I was not a very good piano student. I did not practise. Well, I did practise, usually the day before my lesson. I absolutely hated playing in front of other people. I would much rather play when nobody was around. When I was taking lessons (because yes, I quit, a disappointment to my musical father), I went through this series:
What I much preferred over taking lessons and preparing for piano exams was buying sheet music, or begging my mother to buy me sheet music for different pop music. I would wait until nobody was in the house, or at least busy doing something else, and then I would work my way through it (always preferably in a key with few sharps or flats) until I could (haltingly!) play it. I was not a particularly talented player. It did not flow out of me, but I was passable.
I always wished I could play more easily. I had a friend in highschool who had perfect pitch (you could play any note on the piano without her looking and she could tell you what it was). She was also an incredible sight reader. She could sit down in front of any piece of music and with very little problem, play it flawlessly. I was friends with a guy in highschool who played by ear. He could hear any piece of music and then play it himself - absolutely amazing! I wonder whatever happened to him? I always thought he would become a talented studio musician who could play back up to anyone, in any style.
I had an aunt who lived in a different province (British Columbia), so I did not see her very often. When she did visit Ontario, there would inevitably be a gathering at a relative's house and Aunt Betty, drink on one end of the piano, cigarette propped up on an ashtray on the other, would pound away, playing chords while my father sang. I loved those times and admired what Aunt Betty could do, just play after somebody shouted out a request.
Several years after we were married and our kids were very little, I thought I wanted to take up piano again. We bought an old upright - very plain - not particularly well tuned and it sat in our living room. I dug out old music and even bought a couple of new books. It was fun, but still not something that came naturally. We kept the piano for a few years, then gave it away for free to someone who was willing to transport it out of the house. (Those old pianos weighed a ton!)
What about you? Did you take lessons? Did you have your own "Mrs. Rowe"? Do you still play?