Our Family Scrapbook

Making Music

In the 1970s, home organs became very popular. They started with a one-keyboard organ called the Hammond Piper. It was an easy-to-play organ made especially for beginners and for family fun. I loved it so much that I bought one, too.

The next thing I knew, my dad surprised me with a two-manual Hammond tonebar organ. He sure spoiled me!

This wonderful new organ inspired me to learn music theory, so I bought the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Theory book and started studying theory every afternoon when Angie was at school and Neil was napping. I absolutely loved theory, it was so much fun. As I got close to the end of the book, I decided to take a few theory lessons at the Canadian Conservatory to see if there were any gaps in my knowledge. A few weeks later, I registered for the RCM exam and passed with First Degree Honours. Woohoo!

I enjoyed playing popular music but wanted to play the classics, especially Bach. My dad and I signed up for lessons with the same teacher, and we helped and encouraged each other along the way. My dad would often call me in the evening and ask me to listen to the piece he was practicing. He would lay the telephone receiver on the floor and begin to play. He would inevitably make a mistake and call out, “Oops, let me start that again!” This would happen several times before he would pick up the phone and tell me he needed more practice. We would both laugh, and then he would listen to me play my piece and, of course, I would make mistakes and have to start over a few times. We enjoyed those days, sharing our music and just spending time learning and laughing together.

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