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Since I was a very young kid, I was always interested in music.
My mother noticed, when I was 3 years old, that I immediately learned the children’s songs that she was showing me to play on the piano. So she taught me the songs she knew, and I was playing with two hands.
My mom didn’t want my music interest to be destroyed by forcing me to play after notes at such an early age, and take away the joy I had for playing. She called a famous music school, and explained that she was looking for a piano teacher that was willing to listen to her request, and give me piano lessons.
I could choose what I wanted to play, and she played part of the song, and I played what I had heard. The teacher noticed my fast ability to learn songs by ear. I only went there for a short time because we moved abroad, but I was encouraged by my family to continue playing the piano, and they supplied me with keyboards and pianos.
I remember when I was 9 years old I'd developed a good ear for memorizing music, but I wasn’t aware of my rare talent until I found my old piano teacher again, and asked her to show me how to play a certain song, but she didn’t know the song, so I sat down at the piano and showed her how the song went, she looked at me with big eyes and said, "Emmy, you already know the song. You don’t need me to teach you."
At times I struggled, but I was stubborn and really wanted to play and learn the latest hit songs. Sometimes the songs were very difficult and didn’t sound right, it made me very frustrated!
My mom told me how to think: “It’s like an airplane, it requires a lot of power to fly up above the clouds, but when you are up there it goes by itself, and you can just fly.” This applies to anything you want to learn in life.
That became true for me, and now I am flying and it’s the best feeling in the world!
I have a funny story to share from one of my performances.
I was on vacation in New York with an American family I know, I was only 20.
We were tourists in New York and a friend, a glamorous old lady of 70 plus, wanted to hear me play the piano because she had heard that I was fantastic.
Walking down Manhattan, we stumbled upon Manhattan's Grand Piano Store and she said, "Let's walk in!"
I was dressed in jeans and a pink NY cap. No one would suspect that I was a Swedish pianist.
The woman said, "Let me do the talking."
She spoke to a woman who greeted us at the door. My friend explained that I was a famous composer and pianist from Sweden and she wanted to hear me playing the piano.
The woman was skeptical and had to ask her supervisor. He came out and whispered in her ear, "Take her to the back room."
The woman showed us an old brown grand piano in the corner.
I sat down at the piano and began to play. I improvised a classical piano composition. The lady I was with started to cry because it was such an emotional moment.
The woman from the store was sneaking around at the side of the room listening.
Afterwards, they all applauded me and the woman from the store shook my hand and was blown away by my piano skills, she also played the piano. The owner of the store and all the employees came out from their offices and stood in a straight iine, all seven people in suits, wanting to shake my hand. The owner was excited and said, "Please, please come back, ANYTIME!!"
They didn't believe that I could play piano until they heard me.
That's one of my fun moments in life.