When I was in elementary school, I learned piano. Every Thursday or Friday I went to a teacher and learned piano. When I got serious about learning how to play piano, I switched to a well-renowned teacher in the Lower Mainland whom many budding concert pianists had learned their craft from: Edward J. Parker, the uncle of Jon (Jackie) Parker and father of renowned concert pianist Ian Parker. I can still remember Saturday mornings at Edward Parker's studio in Burnaby struggling to learn the scales and the Grade 10, Royal Conservatory syllabus, namely Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata and Debussy's La Cathedrale Engloutie. I was hoping to go after my ARCT (teaching) - I was too scared to touch performance with a ten-foot pole. I probably was his most aggravating student by far; absolutely infuriating. I'm just glad that he put up with me.
When I went into Douglas College, I was placed on academic probation, which meant that if my marks weren't up to par, I was out of the music program. At that time I had no idea of what I was in for in terms of competition. I also had no idea of just how talented the people I was trying to compete against were. And I was wayyyy out of my depth.
I'm sure that Ed Parker was hurt when I switched majors in mid-first semester to voice, under Ruth Huang Suzuki. It just happened that I got better marks in voice than I did academically in Piano. I just couldn't keep up with the likes of the other piano students who were more focused than I could ever be. But it was only a matter of delaying the inevitable. I couldn't keep up with music history or theory and trying to ascertain what the music or what major or minor interval transition was played in the course of a piece of music just confused the living daylights out of me.
Poor Edward Parker, I'm sure he couldn't figure out why it was that I was doing so badly and couldn't understand the basics of what I was supposed to be comprehending. But frankly, I was a square peg being hammered into a round hole two sizes too small.
I have had the opportunity to connect with a number of my friends from college days and I'm sure that they never knew just how much trouble I had with the music program or why it was that I was always at the bottom of the class list in fear of failing my grade. I masked my musical ineptitude with humor and became the college class cutup and that's how I bided my time until I could take no more of the low grades and dropped out.
Now that I know that photography is my niche and my skill; I can go back with head held high and say "I found what it was that I was meant to do." I wasn't meant to compete with musicians that I have no talent or business competing with. My skill lies behind the viewfinder of a camera bringing out the beauty in the natural world and wildlife. And I hope that one day, I will get the eagle photo of my life's quest. Because that will be the one large canvas that will hang in Edward J. Parker's studio, a loving gift to an ever-patient teacher who tried his best to teach piano to a misfit student. Thank you, Edward J. Parker. For instilling me with a love of classical piano music - a love that has still continued to this day with the enjoyment of the works of Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin and Mozart.