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It's been too long since I ran one of these!  So let's call this one a Fathers Day Present, either to you, your dad, or that special Dad to someone else in your life.

How did your dad affect your view of music?  Did he play an instrument?  Did he teach you to play?  Did you learn because of him?  In spite of him?  In memory of him?

Strum through and I'll share my story, then you can share yours.  Happy Father's Day!

My dad loved music but never got the opportunity to really learn it.  His schooling was interrupted several times because of increasing restrictions against where Jews could go to school in Nazi Germany.  When he was in the equivalent of Middle School, his mother made him take piano lessons.  This was torture for him for two reasons.  First, he wanted to learn trumpet.  Second, he had to come home from the lessons and teach his younger sisters what he learned so three could learn for the price of one.  He was told trumpet would come after he got a good grounding in piano.

Unfortunately he never got those trumpet lessons.  In 1938, he and his sisters took a Kindertransport to Belgium and all his music lessons were at an end.  Now their business was survival.  His story gets more interesting here, but unfortunately there's no more music for him.  He, his mother, and two of his three sisters did survive the war and moved to the United States.  His mother wanted all her grandchildren to learn piano, just as she had intended her children to learn.  She gave her three children's families money for pianos, and most of us grandchildren took lessons.  Of the seven of us, I'm the one who had the most and the longest interest in music, although cousin played sax in his high school band and got a trip to the Rose Bowl out of it.  

Classical music was always playing when my dad was at home.  He might not play but he loved to listen.  Being from Germany, he had some fairly high expectations of how my piano playing ought to sound (probably like the performers on the classical station).  If I fumbled a note, I'd hear about it.  It seemed my dad could not distinguish between practice, which involves a lot of mistakes, and performance, which shouldn't have any.  I learned to practice when he was not home.  As an adult, I was stunned to learn how highly he thought of my improvising since I had taken such pains to play nothing but memorized pieces around him.  And when he visits us, he often spends time playing with my keyboard, revisiting the lessons he never had the chance to see through.  It's too bad he never tried that trumpet.

Please share your stories of music, instruments, learning or listening to music and dads here.  Even accordion players welcome!

This is a community diary.  All topics on musicians, music, and other noise are welcome.

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Originally posted to madhaus on Sun Jun 15, 2008 at 02:04 PM PDT.

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