Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Music and the Lesson of Love

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Music and the Lesson of Love

Article excerpt

I remember when my sister began playing the violin. She was 7 years old. I was 9 and had been playing the piano for two years. How did she sound? Appalling. There's little more troubling to the ear than the earnest screech of the beginner violinist.

Diane didn't like the way she sounded, either. Practicing often left her in tears. But she didn't quit. She loved playing the violin.

I was better at my instrument than she was at hers. Not only did I have those two years on her, but I also had talent. My teacher had told my folks that I had great potential. And because I was a good obedient girl growing up in the 1960s, I practiced every day. I went to music camp. I performed at recitals, even though I hated them. I got better and better.

Everyone agreed that my sister lacked talent. But she loved playing the violin. I didn't love making music as much as she did. But because I was the talented sister, everyone encouraged me to continue.

Nobody encouraged Diane, but she kept at it anyway. She continued with her lessons. She practiced. She got better.

At 12, she asked our parents if she could attend a full-time music academy. They said no. She just wasn't good enough, they told her, to hope to make a living as a professional musician. Sending her off to music school would be a waste of time and money.

Meanwhile, I'd discovered the British TV show "The Avengers." I adored the show and watched it faithfully. It aired every Saturday at 3 p.m. Back then, you couldn't tape a show to watch later. If you missed it when it aired, that was it.

Every Saturday at 3, I'd be in front of the TV. I let nothing interfere with my "Avengers" hour.

When I was 13, my parents wrangled an audition for me with the best piano teacher in the area, and he agreed to take me on as a pupil. There was just one problem. The only time he had available to teach me? …

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