I was born March 4th 1956, so you know how long I've been alive. Composing, playing, producing and studying music has taken more of that time than anything else I've done.
Music fascinated me from a very young age. My father liked playing, particularly the music of nineteenth, through early twentieth century composers, quite loud. So I was probably rocking to it in the womb.
Watching TV as a child with my family one time, I made a comment about the music background, which surprised everyone else because it seems they were only hearing it subliminally, whereas I was conscious of the relationship between the music and the TV show's plot.
I enjoyed singing songs in class in primary school, I can't remember if that was a standard part of our timetable or whether it was a particular teacher who was a musician. I can't remember who she was, or exactly how old I was, but she also played Alley Cat to us on the piano when we had out of class activities in what was called the All Purpose Room, and I really loved that piece.
At one point I bit my nose off to spite my face when I walked out of the choir because I wasn't in the lead section. This was not just an ego driven thing, in the sense that it wasn't just about being in the lead group per se, I simply found the supporting parts boring - I enjoyed, and wanted to sing, the lead melody. I've got a voice wedged inconveniently between a bass and a tenor. Does that mean, that because of the nature of my voice, I should be relegated to less interesting things? None the less, maybe if I hadn't been so strident then, the experience might have set my musical thing off much earlier.
I've had a deep affinity with the guitar since I took it up at the age of twelve. I discovered that the girl next door had been taking guitar lessons for some weeks. She showed me the book she was working from and with her guidance, I was able to grasp straight away the relationship between the types of written notes and their rhythms (it's just simple binary at that early stage), their vertical positions on the stave and their pitches and the fingering of those pitches for C Major (the simplest key to learn at the start - it's only seven letters) in the open position of the guitar (you get six of the notes without even using a finger) and after a bit of messing around, started playing one of the tunes. Her father commented that she had already had several lessons and I just waltzed in and after no time at all, started playing a tune.
That experience spurred me on to ask my parents for a guitar and I ended up with my sister's old hand me down classical guitar and started guitar lessons. Although I made rapid progress, it wasn't fast enough for me. At twelve, I lacked the discipline for focussed and consistent practice, and always wanted to jump ahead.
I've always been a self motivated learner, and after about ten lessons, I quit and proceeded to teach myself using various guitar grade books. Aware of my boredom with those lessons, one of the other students had recommended Burt Weedon's Rock Skiffle And Blues, which was more to my taste at the time, so I got a copy, which really inspired me and hastened my departure, so I could focus on that instead of the boring stuff we were working on with the tutor.
I continued to play guitar, spasmodically. This was the beginning of a life long connection with the guitar and I've never been without a guitar since, whatever else I might have been doing.