excerpt from 'My Boyhood at the turn of the century' pp. 209-210 (303 words)

excerpt from 'My Boyhood at the turn of the century' pp. 209-210 (303 words)

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My Boyhood at the turn of the century

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As a teacher of the pianoforte she [Auntie Grace] may have been very good but as an aunt to a small nephew she was a thin, cold figure of almost inhuman impersonality. Her first requirements in her piano tuition was that I must leave the pedals strictly alone, thus countering any exaltation I may have felt in surrounding my inefficiencies in a splendid volume of uncritical noise. Her second stricture was that I could only learn to play if I practiced over and over again, five-finger exercises and chords and arpeggios such as those I had been introduced to previously. Having instilled this into me she placed before me a manual of such exercises, told me which I was to confine myself to, pulled the front curtains to hide me from passers by, lit the candles in the sconces at the side of the piano, and departed [...]


If there had been the spark of genius, or even a glimmer of music in my soul, I might have survived all this. But I certainly had not sufficient [a missing word?] to survive the misery and loneliness of that darkened room; often the rain beat on the windows mixing in with my tuneless playing and created in me a spiritual chill kept below zero [.]


Perhaps I could have gone on beyond “Blumenlied” and the “Overture to William Tell”, which was the stage my aunt eventually brought me, to playing the great classics to a concert audience; perhaps I could have become a conductor or a composer or even just an impecunious music teacher if I had been given an occasional pat on the head, a smile of appreciation, or rewarded with a biscuit indicating that what I suffered was understood and the effort valued and appreciated. A performing dog or seal at least gets these

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excerpt from 'My Boyhood at the turn of the century' pp. 209-210 (303 words)


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