According to family lore, my father hated his piano lessons with a fierce and implacable passion. While his parents kept the big family house open, this was one of the landmarks: a pair of worn tracks on the Turkey carpet, scuffed, it was said, by the truculent feet of young Hollis during the daily hour of practice as he sat at the piano bench, refusing to put his fingers on the keyboard. Month after month after season after year, swinging his feet for an hour at a time.
My father played quite beautifully as an adult, mind you, but he was quick to point out that he played "by ear." He didn't cop to the ability to read music. He could play nearly anything he heard, including several 1920's-era Scott Joplin ragtime tunes -- the sprightly syncopation never failing to surprise the listener when paired with Daddo's general appearance.
His abhorrence of "lessons" spilled liberally over the lives of his family; we weren't the kind of kids who got signed up for gymnastics class or swim lessons. It seemed a little hard at the time but it made my sister and me independent in the end. If we really wanted to learn something extra, we made it happen ourselves. I wrangled in-school music lessons with an excellent music teacher, Mr. Foreman, in fifth and sixth grades, though Daddo refused to let me take up the piano. Instead, I studied that most portable and effete of instruments: the flute. I forget now why I stopped -- something to do with band practice, probably, and needing a ride after school.
Which leads me to my small point. Among the miscellany on my bucket list of ambitions is one smallish musical item: Cello lessons. And here's one reason why (though YoYo Ma is never too far out of the running either):
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