(October, 2011) I was given my first keyboard as a Christmas present at age 2. An older brother suggested to my parents that they purchase it for me, as a means of getting his hands on it himself. As it happens, I took to it like the proverbial duck to water, and by using the "teaching" feature (small LED lights that would indicate which notes to play), I learned When The Saints Go Marching In before my 3rd birthday in February. Once I learned to play all 15 songs without the use of the LED lights, I began trying to play music that I heard, or hymns that we sang at primary (elementary) school.
I received a new keyboard the following Christmas, and continued learning to play things by ear. My first "public" performance came when I was asked to fill in for our pianist, and play two hymns for the school to sing when a local Bishop visited. Our school choir took part in a county event a couple of years later, and I was asked to play piano accompinement to a piece called With Cat Like Tread. The entire assembly of 15 local schools sang along to my piano playing! At around age 10, I entered a talent contest whilst on holiday. By this time, I had a Yamaha PSS-540, which was by far the most advanced keyboard I'd had so far. I won the contest with a rendition of Let's Twist Again, although my Hawaiian version of Ribbons of Blue (by Boney-M) only secured me the runner up place in the national version. I entered again the following year, playing Memory (from the musical Cats) and Hava Nagila, which holds no spiritual or religious significance for me, but allowed me to play something at an ever increasing tempo which I hoped would get the crowd interested. Again though, I only managed 2nd place.
At this point, someone suggested I should learn to actually read music. I took music lessons for about three years, although never really enjoyed it, with the exception of learning a few songs that I liked. I decided that, for me, music was not about studying books, so I quit my music lessons. I did, however, take GCSE Music at secondary (high) school, for which I received the highest possible grade.
Ever since, I have gone back to playing everything by ear. Indeed, with the exception of two pieces, everything on my page was learned by ear, and those that I did learn by reading, I play them very differently than how they are written. I purchased my PSR-2100 with the remains of my salary after loosing a job through ill health. I'd had this keyboard for about a year when I discovered the PSR Tutorial site, and after listening to the excellent work of the other members, decided I would try recording something myself. The songs I have recorded are simply pieces that I enjoy playing for pleasure - something I often do for at least an hour each day.
Cheers, Gary (Anonymizeruk)