The piano man

Anthony Hoskins resides at Radius St Helenas and is passionate about playing the piano. He tells his story here…

“My love for the piano actually started as a 12-year-old when my father taught me to play the ukulele which I soon learnt to play with some proficiency. I then found some of the chords I played were very similar to the guitar so after a little while I could play my songs on the guitar. It soon became my instrument of choice. However there was something missing in my music life. My father was a good piano player and I longed for that ability. So I said to my father that I would like to learn the piano too – his reply was “Son, I think the piano is too technically difficult for you.” You can imagine how I felt about that! Here was the man I looked up to pouring cold water on my dream.

When I was 14 I decided to work towards making my dream come true. This was to be my first experience of “The Law of Attraction” – somehow I already knew that if I wanted something I had to do something about it, it was not going to fall into my lap. As I was the eldest of six there was no money for lessons so I did the next best thing and decided to teach myself. I went into a music shop and bought a book on learning the piano. I was full of excitement as I rushed home – I was going to be a pianist!

Then the fun started as I sat at the piano and started to learn from the book, however I was all at sea with it and almost gave up. Fortunately my step-Grandmother could play, not very well but she did teach me to read music. There was no stopping me after that. I began a very strict routine. I was lucky that the piano was in the lounge which was not used very often as it was on the cold side of the house and never got sunlight in there.

This was great for me because I was not going to annoy the rest of the family. I would start at 7 am and practice until about 8.45 am when I would bike to school, –reluctantly because it interfered with my practice.

Because we lived reasonably close to the school I always biked home for lunch. My mother would have some lunch ready for me so I ate this and went in to my beloved piano for about 30 minutes and then away back to school. At 3pm I could go home again! I always had homework to do so I would slum through that and never got good marks for it I can tell you. And you guessed it, back to my piano until about 5.30pm when it was dinner time. That was a very good time in our home as it was a time for the whole family to be together. We would talk about the day’s events, etc., which my father always led. After, of course, someone had said grace.

After the evening meal there would always be chores to do. One would clear the table, one would wash the dishes, one would dry them and another would sweep the floor. Of course we had a roster to do this so it changed every week. When my chores were done for the night I was allowed to practice until 9 pm when I had to go to bed. Come the weekend other kids at school would go and play with their friends, but not for me! I had work to do. I would spend most of the weekend practicing.

This went on for six solid months until I could play as well as my father. We would often take turns at playing when we had a sing-along which was great for all who came to it. Sadly my father died aged 49 and I felt I had lost my best friend along with my father.

After all this I went on to become a professional pianist. I have played in many tourist hotels and restaurants. I still to this day play as often as I can to keep my hand in.”

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