When I turned 50 I was on sabbatical in London, England. One of our sons – an excellent pianist – was a final year student at Pimlico secondary school. We chose Pimlico because it had a highly-regarded music program. The father of one of his classmates played and collected clarinets. Our son thought this would be a suitable birthday gift and persuaded my wife to buy it for me. I then found an excellent teacher who lived nearby and began taking lessons. My teacher quickly persuaded me to change to a more modern, lighter, clarinet. Because it had fewer keys it helped me overcome many fingering challenges. Subsequently I enjoyed practising and developed a reasonably good tone. Unfortunately, my timing was poor and is still pretty awful.
After returning to Montreal I found a new teacher at the Mcgill Conservatory. Under his patient guidance I managed to pass the Grade II examination. That was truly a proud moment. I continue to play, but as I age I’m definitely slipping.
For my 80 birthday the same son, gave me six lessons with his splendid teacher. Her unusual teaching technique got me off to a good start. Interestingly, however, the first piece she chose for me to learn was a Bach prelude from the Well Tempered Clavichord. Six years later I’m still struggling to master it. (‘Master’ is actually a much too strong word! I just want to be able to play the darn thing without making mistakes or having to look at the score!)
The question for readers of this blog is whether I should persist or give up? Having asked questions previously and received few answers, I’m forced to conclude one of the following: few actually read this blog, all the readers are shy, or they simply can’t be bothered with my silly questions. I will continue to ask until I get a good answer. And I will persist with the Well Tempered but not well-played Bach.
PS… I am also trying to learn a Satie ‘Gnossieme’ which is actually a much greater challenge because my hands are not large enough. (That is the best excuse I can come up with.)