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  • When I was six, I decided to teach myself piano.
    I thought I could do it myself, with the book my dad had used when he was young.
    I would sit at the piano and turn the pages, back from the complicated songs I was sure I'd soon be playing, all the way back to the one- and two-note melodies I could actually play.
    Or thought I could actually play.
    At the time, I had no understanding of the concept of rhythm. Half notes and sixteenth notes were the same to me. Notes could all be played at the same time and the song would still mean the same thing.
    My father was upset by this. He would come over and clap next to me. One two three four. C D C-ee
    I saw black note black note white note and played, what to me, black note black note white note meant.
    He grew frustrated. I grew frustrated too, but with him, not myself. My music was my music.
    A few weeks later, he suggested I take up the violin. He's told me now that at that point he hated violin, and thought it was merely a filler instrument for pop songs.
    Ten years later, he told me, and his mind has changed. As I practice, he still sometimes stands behind my shoulder, and asks me if that note was really right, or shouldn't I run that section again?
    He's usually right. But after ten years, I can count a measure by myself. And I can play a black note black note white note that I know is right. And with a violin on my shoulder, I know there are some things in life I'll never be able to teach myself to love. But learning how to love something from someone else isn't always a bad thing either.
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