Experience: I play piano for rescued elephants

One would walk off if I played Schubert, but stay for hours for Beethoven

In the 1970s, a new supermarket selling LPs arrived in my home town of Hornsea, East Yorkshire, and I began spending my pocket money on records. I was just 12, and fell immediately in love with Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. I dreamed of playing that music myself. We didn’t have a piano in our house, but there was one in my grandmother’s care home, where I learned to play Beethoven by ear.

On Saturdays, I would walk two miles to a village church that had a piano. The church was surrounded by pig farms and covered in nettles. Teaching myself how to play there, with pigeons cooing and farmers ploughing the fields, was magical.

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