When time permits, I play the piano.
is the music I like best. I especially like
jazz piansts such as
and George Shearing. Other artists I
like include Joe Pass and Earl Kluge on guitar, and
vocalists Mel Torme and Diane Krall.
I started taking piano lessons when I was eleven years old. I studied
in the Royal Conservatory of Music program and completed the Grade Six
exam. In high school, I tired of playing classical music and
was about to
give up playing the piano. Fortunately, my teacher asked "what do you
want to play?" I responded with "Songs that I listen to and not
classical music." Throughout high school, I played a variety of
popular music from the sixties and seventies, including songs from The
Bealtes, Elton John, and Supertramp. I also started playing some jazz
music -- mostly songs from Oscar Peterson's Canadiana Suite.
Getting a Piano
In 1976, I moved from Edmonton to Vancouver. For a couple of years,
I had no piano. I did try playing guitar, but I became
frustrated with my lack of progress. Though a series of accidental
meetings, I was able to purchase a Gors and Kallmann baby grand piano
for a really low price (I recall it was around $1,500). This piano
was designed in Germany, built in England, and originally purchased
in Australia around 1930-1935. The piano has had all the strings
replaced, the pins moved up a size, and the keyboard regulated. I
still use it today, as do my children.
For many years my piano teacher was
Brenda Baird. Brenda has
a degree in classical music from
and a diploma in commercial music from
teaching, Brenda performs regularly, and switches effortlessly
between classical, pop, blues, and jazz. Brenda added a
lot of discipline to my playing (especially to my rhythm).
Life has been too busy to continue with lessons, but I still see Brenda from
time to time and listen to recordings of her band
Mother of Pearl.