When I was 3, my mother and I started taking piano lessons together, but after a few weeks, she noticed she wasn't improving and I was. Not wanting to have to explain why a 3-year-old could play better than she could, she cut her losses and gave up the piano.

When I was 5, my piano teacher discovered I had perfect pitch, and naturally my family believed I was a genius. When 'company' would come over, my parents would tell me to go under the piano and identify the notes being played overhead. It was easy. I never missed a note.

I also started playing other musical instruments including the saxophone and the clarinet. At my final performance at our house as a pre-teen, I played the piano with my left hand and the saxophone with my right.

My parents, proud of my talents, urged me on. Eager to please, I jerked up the saxophone with a dramatic gesture and sprayed four of the ivory piano keys on to the living room floor. In a family steeped in accountability, my parents docked me for the four keys. My 'duet' days were over.

The 7th grade brought puberty and puberty brought girls. Then, much to my amazement, I found out I could compose music. So for the next 15 years, there were girl friends and songs for girl friends. Writing songs didn't guarantee success with the girls, but it definitely gave me an edge.

At 27, I settled down and started a family. Whatever the reason (whether I was too busy working or too busy with my family), I only wrote 2 or 3 songs in the next 25 years.

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