“My first class I taught myself to sit in front of a piano,” he laughs. “I picked up a little bit of reading but I had to get to grips with what the notes meant, but that’s about that.”
But what of the piano itself?
“I had my own piano when I was a little girl and I used it for the first time when I was 12 years old, and that piano is still in use,” he says. “I have two pianos, one for myself and one for my children.”
There are plenty of pianists who are well beyond the age of 12 who can play anything.
‘The piano is not just a machine’
“Every musician has a different set-up,” says Professor James Linder from Kingston University, who specialises in studying the psychology of playing the piano with young musicians.
“Many of them have spent a lifetime playing and learning and they are in a special position to make the same sort of changes to the instrument.”
Professor Linder says it’s hard to say whether young people’s music can really compare to those grown up around them, but he suggests it is possible.
“The piano is not just a machine,” he says.
“In the hands of a pianist, all of a sudden, the music is in a different place.”
But there’s no question these youngsters are making great progress. So much so, some are being encouraged to take up music at university.
“Music is a great way to develop social skills, self-confidence, self-belief, social skills and the ability to have a bit of fun,” explains Ms Boulting.
“Even if you are playing classical music in your late teens or 20s, you can always find new ways of thinking when you are playing on the piano.”
Can you have fun with a pianist?
“If you can have a lot of fun with them, it will make playing classical music the more fun,” Ms Boulting says.
Topics: children, education, secondary-schools, melbourne-3000
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