At the age of eight, I began taking piano lessons through Pasadena City College's conservatory program. They offered group lessons and truthfully, it worked for me. The teacher who taught the classes was a concert pianist. She gave individual attention to every student in the class. I'll never forger her. Her name was Susan Svrcek. I remember she performed at a recital and I couldn't believe my eyes. Only now as a concert pianist can I truly appreciate that Ms. Svrcek was an inspiration and a true concert artist. After two years of study through the conservatory program at Pasadena City College, my mother located a private piano teacher who was very strict about developing proper piano technique.
Like most children, I did not want to practice. I would cry and complain, but my mother made me sit down for 30 minutes every day. Eventually, I increased to an hour on my own. Today, I thank her because I would never have made it to the Kennedy Center if she didn't make me practice or just let me quit.
My story is an inspiration to anyone who desires to learn an instrument. My best advice is to stick with it! Don't ever give up! I still practice four to five hours a day as an adult. A true pianist never stops practicing. I inspire my students through my practice and performances. Eventually in the end, your hard work will pay off.
View my Kennedy Center performance:
Sroll to 27:37 to see me performing directly.