My dad got my mom an upright piano for her birthday when I was two years old. I was an important part of the surprise. It was my job to distract her downstairs in the basement while the piano was being delivered. My dad called me upstairs to take a peek. I was so excited, I ran to the top of the stairs and shouted “Mom! Come up here and look at your new piano!”
Little did they know that day would change my life. I gravitated toward the keys. I would listen to songs on the radio, and then wander over to the piano and play them. I assumed everyone knew how to do this, much like tying your shoes. My parents decided to sign me up for piano lessons. I HATED theory. I quickly developed a system of trickery to get out of learning how to read music. My teacher would ask me how the lesson went for that week, and I would say “ok” then ask her to play it for me first. Once she played it, then I could. A few rounds of this, and she was hip to my action. Foiled.
In the 4th grade, when you get to choose an instrument, I picked the clarinet. I am pretty sure this was only because I didn’t have the lung capacity for the flute, which I thought was a much more delicate choice. I played the clarinet for 12 years, and pretty much hated it. It did however, force me to read a bit of music, so I was able to play with the band. I continued to play piano, just for the joy of it, by ear.