I remember asking for a keyboard for my birthday when I was a kid. I must have been in grade 5, from what I can remember. Whenever we were at family functions, my dad would play the piano. I admired my dad so much. I still do. His wacky sense of humour and his confidence on the keys inspired me to play the keyboard, too. I was incredibly excited when I finally got one for my birthday. I remember the whole family was at a restaurant where I opened the gift.
I started bringing it to school to jam sessions in class and I would listen to tapes over and over again to find the notes on the keyboard. This was how I learned how to play music. It never occurred to me to take lessons.
In grade 8 I played the tenor saxophone, but was eventually asked to play keys instead after being told “This isn’t a Jazz show, Shela” one too many times. I guess I had a tendency to bounce from upper to lower register frequently on the sax.
It was in that class that I wrote my first composition. We all had to write something on our instrument. When I played mine in front of the class, I was told I probably got help. I didn’t. In fact, I thought it was quite simple. I didn’t get a very good mark on the piece, though, because it didn’t follow the format we were given.
It didn’t matter to me. This assignment had opened up a new world. Composition. I continued to write instrumental pieces and eventually, thanks to my dear friend Sarah, picked up the guitar and started writing songs with lyrics. I didn’t write a song on piano until I was in my late 20s. It took me a while to be able to play piano and sing at the same time.
Music has followed me throughout my life, though I go through phases of not writing or playing. I usually end up writing some bit of music on piano every time I sit down to play, but more often than not, it collects dust and never turns into a full piece. I eventually started wondering if perhaps some bits and pieces are meant to be brief and tied to the moment they were created. Perhaps the ideas don’t always need to be expanded.
So, I now share my bits and pieces... and one day I will release an album of completed pieces. Until then, I hope someone enjoys what I create along the way.