Music is the backdrop for Skating Over Thin Ice, and music has played a huge role in my life. It was so much fun to write this story, working in the musical references and name-dropping all over the place.
We didn’t have a piano when I was little. According to family lore, my parents had an argument (long before I was born) because my dad spent so much time sitting at the piano playing “Bumble Bee Boogie”, so my mom threatened to get rid of the piano and he angrily vowed he’d never play again. When I was 12, I came home from school for Christmas holidays – and there was a piano in the living room. My mom, probably recognizing that my budding musical talent (my brother’s, too) needed some guidance, and that Dad really needed his music too, rented us a piano from the local Heintzman store.
I took lessons from the Royal Conservatory of Music for not quite two years, and then my instruction ended – for all sorts of reasons, many of them related to money. My teacher, Miss Reuter, was so disappointed I was leaving, she took my piano book (by then I was playing out of the Grade VIII Conservatory book) and wrote out all the scales and arpeggios I would need to prepare for the exam. I never had a chance to prepare or take that exam.
But music – and the piano – has remained a musical anchor for me. I don’t play well, don’t sight-read well, but I do love to improvise. Just like Genny. To sit at the keyboard and just noodle around through chords and melodies and wherever my hands take me – that is definitely one of Life’s pleasures.
I dug out my Grade VIII Conservatory book so you can see my teacher’s notes. I’m sorry I disappointed you, Miss Reuter! But I’ve never stopped playing my piano.