I started playing piano at the age of 5.
Seeing that I wasn't practicing as much as they believed I should (or so my parents thought)...the lessons were cancelled after only a few months. I purposely didn't practice when anyone was around because I didn't want the headaches. She was such a sweet and wonderful woman and I being just a kid, didn't know how to express my feelings about this situation. My little plot backfired on me when after a few weeks of no lessons, asking again for someone new and being told "no". Darn. I was not put off that quickly!
Over the next 10 years I would continue to play and practice everyday after school. My mom worked part time and would arrive home about half hour after I did. This gave me just enough time in the living room alone to play along with the Mickey Mouse Club and learn other songs. Also during this time I was playing the clarinet in public school so reading notes wasn't a problem at all for me. I knew the sound of the car engine and the tires hitting the gravel driveway - time to close up the piano. Mom's home and time to get out of the living room. Each evening would be the same, dad came home - we helped mom with dinner and then homework. If I was lucky enough that my dad went downstairs to his workshop in the cellar and my mom too - I would sit down and play for a bit. But once upstairs, the smoke was just too much to handle.
school years brought me playing a few new instruments as well as
being in "band". Here I learned a great deal about the
classics and jazz. I played in our little "jazz band" and
enjoyed it very much. Not having any real teachers all
these years, the chords and "improvisation" were somewhat
difficult for me to play. But I practiced and practiced
To Cook or Not To Cook?
In my senior year, thoughts turned to colleges and I actually wanted to be a chef. I applied and was accepted at Johnson and Whales College in Rhode Island. I also looked at a school in Southern NJ for their culinary school as well. My heart was still with the music. In June of 1987, our Senior Awards Ceremony was held and I was invited. I couldn't understand why because I wasn't the smartest in the school, nor the best at anything I could think of. Well, I was pleasantly surprised with a scholarship awarded by the Band Parents and with a "Most Musically Talented" Award. Imagine the surprise on the faces of the two others who had won the Senior Award for the Yearbook as "Most Musically Talented" when I went on stage! I was very surprised, and happy.
This sealed my fate I believe. I told my parents I really
wanted to go to school to play music. I had to audition
for any music program I was going to attend, so my parents
agreed I could have a few lessons to help me along. I had
three lessons with a gentleman from New Brunswick, NJ (Sorry, I
don't even remember his name!) and off I went to my audition.
The Beginning of How I am Where I am - GERALD PRICE
I was now
a Freshman at Glassboro State College in New Jersey. Known
for being the best music school in New Jersey, I was extremely
excited about playing here. It was here I learned so much
from Gerald Price, THE best piano
teacher in my opinion. The first day I met Gerald, I was a
little taken aback. From his tall stance, to his gold
tooth and gold pendant chain around his neck to his 13th reach
stretch on the piano keyboard (You pianists KNOW what that
is!)....he was just the best! He asked me to sit down and
placed a book in front of me. The "REAL" book was it's
name. I had never seen anything like this. Melody
line and letters for the chords. Well, here
Through the years in college, I played in a few jazz groups, a "big band" group as well as various college rock bands. I did the rounds at the local bars and restaurants and did enjoy it. I have to admit it was nice walking along campus and being recognized every now and then for my talent. I had Sororities and other college groups hiring me for just about everything. I really enjoyed this time in my life. I knew I would do well if I just continued on with my practicing and watching Gerald and others.
all good things come to an end, my college years were over.
Life started taking hold of me and the years just past by.
I still played a bit, however not nearly as much as I had hoped
to. I did have a few small jobs here and there, but never
really was able to be "the" musician I wanted to due to other
commitments and not having the support one needs for a career
such as that.
Well, years went by and I ended up purchasing a home in Fort Myers, Fl. One time while I was down here I decided to rent a piano for my house. Everything happens for a reason you know? This was just that!
I met a great person named Steve Carver. Steve was a
salesman at a local piano shop where I rented the piano from.
He asked about my playing and believe it or not, the next time I
visited Florida, Steve was working at the Steinway Piano Gallery
in Naples, FL. Steve asked if it would be ok for the store
to refer me to clients who needed a pianist. Of course I
said yes! What an amazing turn of events for me I thought.
Being a pianist for what I believe to be the best piano maker
and world renowned company, Steinway. Ok, it's not New
York, but it IS Steinway! I was so proud of myself, I must
admit. I also met a wonderful man by the name of Greg
Billings, the owner of the Gallery. He has been very kind
and helpful to me as well.
One afternoon in January 2005, a friend and I were in downtown Naples, FL. We stopped in for lunch at a cute Irish Restaurant. At the end of the bar was an old, upright piano AND I noticed - a sign looking for a piano player. Hmmm...interesting. I asked the bartender if they would mind if I sat down and played for a bit until the food arrived. Not a problem! Well, after a few bars of I don't know what - they offered me the job. I was going to be playing three nights a week and singing as well. I was very happy and enjoyed every night I was there. Half of the keys on the piano stuck and it was terribly out of tune, but I made it sing! There was a mirror situated above the piano so I could look up and see the crowd. I felt like a school bus driver actually! Whether it was a small crowd or large, the evenings were all memorable. The staff were wonderful and the crowd as well. You can check the place out here. It's a REALLY old piano but it was a great time!
forward to 2009, today - March 3rd. I've been fortunate
enough to have played many venues here in Florida and continue
to add to my list places such as The Verandah in Fort Myers
City, ChannelMark in Fort Myers, FL as well as my current
location I am playing, Miromar Lakes Country Club. I am
now in the process of looking into starting up my OWN Piano Bar
here in Fort Myers. There aren't many places that offer
music such as I play along with the atmosphere that is more
accustomed to nice wine, good food and good music. Not
taking anything away from the places here, I just wish to have
my own place that I can be proud of and play whenever and
whatever I'd like to. Hopefully that dream will come to
fruition this year.