I have mentioned before in these writings of my struggles with dyslexia. While this usually expresses itself through an inability to spell, it effects other memory based skills as well such as music or remembering facts for exams.
Now, music was important in our family as I grew up because my mother was a professional singer. We had a piano in the front lounge (or the ‘good room’) which we young children were not allowed in unless we were playing this instrument properly, such as scales and tunes from the piano lesson book one. I never got past the first page, let alone the second book. Listening to and enjoying music was also valued by Mum, who often had the ABC radio playing opera or musicals to sing along with while cooking or ironing.
Then there was teachers’ college. The teaching rounds were fine, but subjects such as music had me tossed. All those notes floating around, on top of which we had to learn the recorder, an instrument of no joy as far I was concerned. I managed to fudge my way through most assignments with help from the girls in my hostel, but the big test came when students had to show off their skills with the recorder with a one on one test with the lecturer. I was doomed. I played a few notes, but instead of saying, “I’m sorry this is beyond me”, I threw the recorder across the room saying – “Mark me down as failed”--and stormed out.
Somehow, I managed to pass and pass well at Teachers’ College without Music in my overall marks. My future classes always included music, thanks to the ABC music education programs, but recorders were never to see the light of day in my many and varied classrooms.