man playing grand piano on stone bridge over river

Q & A with Raley S.

For this blog post, we interviewed a long-time student of mine, Raley! Raley is from Texas (USA), and is one of Piano in a Flash’s newest students.. Keep an eye out for more Q & A blog posts like this one: we enjoy hearing from students, and we want you to be able to read about their story with Piano in a Flash too!

Q: When did you first learn about Scott and Piano in a Flash?

A: I ordered the books the same day I learned about Scott and saw his webinar in mid-April this year. The webinar was intriguing. I’m retired, I’m 76, and I’ve never had a piano or music lesson in my life, except maybe in junior high school in a general music class. As I got older and had more time on my hands, I wished I could play something. We have a guitar, but i never wanted to go through the sore fingers that came with learning to play. I didn’t have the patience to learn classical style though. But when I found Scott’s lessons, I found something I thought I could do. My wife helps me occasionally with the lessons, between her and Scott I’m all set to learn. 

Q: Who or what inspired you to start playing piano?

A: I don’t know that I had any one inspiration to start playing, but my wife and several of her friends and family are musically inclined. I envied their ability to play a bit, but never like I could ever do it successfully. 

My granddaughter and grandson had birthdays a few months ago, and, after about 3 months of lessons and practice, I was able  to play Happy Birthday, from memory. I only started lessons in late April! As I progress I really want to learn boogie-woogie music, I’m really into that. I picked up a few boogie patterns to mess around with in songs. 

Q: Did you have any prior musical training? Do you play any other instruments?

A: Not at all! Piano is my first taste of the world of musicianship.

Q: What’s your next musical-related goal?

A: I really just want to keep progressing, and get to where I can play faster and more confidently. 

Q: Do you play for anyone else?

A: Maybe for family, but I’m not one to show off too much. I’d like to get to the point where I can show the other pianists in the family what I’ve been working on, and be confident in my playing. I just want to grow my skills at the piano and expand my repertoire.

Q: What’s the biggest hurdle when it comes to learning piano?

A: I haven’t reached the point of timing. I cannot count the beats in a measure while playing the notes in both my hands at the same time. I began learning piano using the  “cheat sheet” showing the notes, but when I’m wanting to challenge myself, I play without my cheat sheet. 

Q: Has playing piano helped you in other areas of life? 

A: I don’t have a lot of stress, as I am retired, and I was fortunate to not have to worry about money for the future. I told my wife not to tell anyone I was doing this, because I don’t want the pressure of others knowing I’m doing this, in case it doesn’t work out. But I’ve started giving her permission to share with a few people. I even shared a few recorded songs with her choir ladies, and they agreed I was sounding good. It fills my time and definitely gives me a sense of accomplishment, though. The opportunities for accomplishment and pride are few and far between with retirement, but piano definitely gives me a sense of pride when I play it right. I’ve gotten through the first book, and I’ve done a handful of lessons in Course 2, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to tackle them. I’m into country and gospel music— “Amazing Grace”, “Rock of Ages”, and “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” are some of my favorites— and I like playing those songs I know I am familiar with, because I can tell when I’m doing something right. If I don’t know the song, I don’t know if I’m doing it right or not. 

I have a little bit of pride, being 76, that I was able to pick it up and learn what I have so far. And my wife tells me I’m doing well. It’s been a great sense of accomplishment, picking up something new. You get old, and think you cannot learn much else, but it’s been a really fun challenge.

Thank you, Raley, for sharing your journey with us! If Raley inspired you to check out our online piano lessons, check out the rest of our website for more information and learn how you can get started!

1 Comment
  • Bill Friesen
    Posted at 10:04h, 26 November

    Reading this blog is encouraging. I am a bit older, 83 in January. I an moving slowly through the lesson, still on the first course. I did have piano lesson when I was a child. My teacher, Mr. Harper was old school.

    I can play scales and chords with my right hand, but until I started lessons with Scott Houston did not have pleasure of playing a song like “Amazing Grace” and sing along with it.

    Live in Canada and like the rest of the world where a Covid restricts activities these lessons are a wonderful way to play and learn!