One of the advantages of living at home while going to college is the financial opportunity. I went to a state school, I wasn’t charged room or board, and I had good jobs as an engineering co-op student. Since computer gadgets didn’t yet exist, my interests were much more in music. I had already built a good amplifier from a kit (can’t even find a page to link to that shows the kit I built), was starting to collect a lot of albums, and was learning basic chords on my sister’s guitar.
Then, I asked my parents if they would mind if I bought a piano and put it in the living room. So I went piano shopping, knowing very little. The salesman explained pianos to me in terms related to General Motors – there was the Cadillac, the Buick, and the Chevy. The Story & Clark console piano that I ended up with was considered to be a Buick.
Though I never took lessons, I spent many hours at the keyboard, trying to teach myself to translate the notes on the page to perfect tones from the instrument. Somewhere in that first summer, I realized that I could learn chords on the piano the same way I did on the guitar. I learned different positions for each chord, and learned to play them as individual notes with one hand while I played the full chord with another. In short, I learned to fake it.
But I was making music. And music became my friend for life. I still strum a guitar from time to time, and although the piano was donated to a school a few years ago, one of my sons did have the opportunity to learn to play it, and has moved on to much more interesting electronic keyboards. But one thing I learned – for me, music is essential in my life. I need to listen to it, I need to relax with it, and from time to time I need to make a little music.
Has music been important to you?