Learning to play the piano

Hi All,

In Oct 1964 we, as a family, were transferred to Kwekwe where my father was the local Station Master for Rhodesia Railways. I spent my last year of primary school at Que Que Junior School (QQJS) – arguably one of the leading Junior schools countrywide at the time! Our Headmaster, Ken Barker, was a very fair, yet strong, disciplinarian – wo and behold if you were sent to him for even a small misdemeanour in class. The standard of education there was streets ahead of where I had been before in Bulawayo and there were many extremely clever kids in my Standard 5A Class. Ma Bradshaw was our very bright, yet dear, old teacher. Every Friday we had difficult tests in Mental Arithmetic, Spelling and General Knowledge and there was always a needle match to see who could earn top marks. To this day, I would challenge any high school student to take me on at Mental Arithmetic – remember that our generation was all taught how to add up sets of 2 or 3 digits numbers at a glance – BC (Before Calculators).

2 or 3 times a week, at QQJS, we would have Music Lessons where we were taught all about musical scales. We learnt how to identify each of the symbols from the Semibrev (whole note) to the Minim, Crochet and Quaver. It was all very boring for me who had never had wealthy parents to take me to Piano Lessons. Fast forward to University days when I took the bus into Durban one day and used some of my scholarship money (R30!)  to buy my first ever Spanish Guitar. Learning where to place my left-hand fingers to play each chord took lots of patience and I would manually write down whole songs from whatever source I could lay my hands on. At my daughter’s wedding a few years ago I wrote and played a song that I had written especially for Ashleigh and David’s special moment.

I had always had “Learn to Play the Piano” on my Bucket List so, whilst in New York, last week I did some research on cheap Piano Keyboards. Then, after my New York Marathon, I decided to walk out the muscle cramps from the New York Marathon ambling down to the Sam Ash Music Store in Broadway. Bottom line is that I now have a new toy in my lounge! I intend on teaching myself to play the Piano using an excellent Adult Piano Book that I also bought. I won’t be starting with analysing Quavers or Crochets – just using sheet music from songs that I know from the 70s. In my simple mind, each symbol on the scales is placed where your finger should go to make the relevant sound. It is going to be fun! I plan to emulate Edgar Donaldson who, at 93, can still beat out a tune on the Piano at the Old age home in Mutare. I’m taking bookings for Xmas parties so better rush to place your order!!

There are so many YouTube Clips on how to learn the Piano – one thing leads to the next – not quite ready for Elton John’s Rocket Man ! So what do you tune is next on your bucket list? Yours in Music. Mike G
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