What a day it was, when they moved that upright piano into the livingroom of the farmhouse. At the age of about fourteen, I don't recall any previous discussion about such an extravagant purchase, but there it was! Singing and music was always a part of our family gatherings. We would gather around and my Aunts & Uncles would bring out the guitars, accordian, harmonica and now we had a piano!
After every meal, I would leave the table quickly and go figure out tunes and diddle around on the keys till I was summoned back to the kitchen to help with the dishes. Playing by ear came naturally, and soon I taught myself to read notes. Many times I would try to play through the hymnbook and imagine myself as church pianist.
I wanted to take piano lessons more than anything, and yet this did not seem to be a priorty at that time.
However, I did become the church pianist and did quite well for many years. However, I was in real trouble if I was called upon to play something I was not familiar with, or if the key signature had more than 2 sharps. (flats were no problem) Also I could not figure out the timing of a new song and this made for some extremely embarrassing situations.
this summer, we took a trip to a Gospel Music Convention. What a smorgasbord feast of singing and music that was! The Saturday matinee featured a "Pianorama". Four large grand pianos on stage and four of the most talented pianists I have ever heard let loose. How I wished I could have learned to play like that.