And I still don't know why my parents forced me to it. I threw tantrums, I cried, I tried to murder the piano, and yet they prevailed. They said, once you start something, you have to finish it. I took the exam for Grade 8 twice. I failed twice. Only then did they say, 'Fine, enough.'
They didn't get the idea that I just wasn't any good at it. My left hand and my right hand were at war with each other. They just weren't synchronized when it came to those ivory and ebony keys. Scales? More like Prelude to the Apocalypse. I had no rhythm, I was very bad at memorizing notes, and I tended to play Fortissimo even when the piano sheet screamed Pianissimo.
It didn't help that my piano teacher, a spinster in her forties (at that time) truly loathed me. She'd hit me with a ruler she kept on her side of the piano. She'd hit me right at the knuckles, the loathsome bitch. She whack my back if my posture wasn't straight enough. She'd air her armpits and flap them with one hand, making phap-ing noises (honest to goodness, she'd do that). She'd shout at me in front of everyone, and she once commented that I was turning into a boy because I cut my hair really short. What did that have to do with playing the piano? Political correctness, some? Lost on her. She, too, endured me for 12 years, a student with absolutely no interest in what she was teaching. Perhaps that was why she hated me. Blame my parents!
Looking back, I'm thankful that I'm able to read notes. I've forgotten a lot of what was taught, especially those alto clefs and whatnot, but I'm still able to read a sheet when I see one. During my heydays, I was able to play Richard Clayderman's Ballade Pour Adeline by heart, and I'm still able to play the intro to Beethoven's Sonata Quasi Una Fantasia (aka Moonlight Sonata) without looking at the sheet. I'm bragging now, I know. So yes, I'm thankful to be able to read notes, but am I thankful for 12 years of agony? Hell no.