Originally posted on Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten):
I wish I could have waved a magic wand when I was six years old and produced a beginning teacher who would have artfully nursed me through my crawling stage to a graceful, phrase-loving adulthood at the piano. I needed to learn how to produce a singing tone, moving with agility from one note to another under the physical guidance of my mentor, but there was no one with such capability on the horizon.
Instead, I remember seven years of torment and frustration when what I knew as my tonal ideal deep within me never materialized. My tiny, but growing hands betrayed me time and again. I couldn’t put my imagination to work in a practical way without hands-on knowledge.
At the age of 13 or so, when I entered the New York City High School of Performing Arts, which was an easy entrance since I played the violin as well, and string players were always in short supply for school orchestras, I finally transferred to a piano teacher who brought me back to the basics which I desperately needed.