Growing up, my family had a baby grand piano in our living room. It was usually cluttered with books and papers on every inch of it and it was not always well-tuned, but it was a constant during my upbringing and a reliable source of good entertainment. My brother and I both took piano lessons, so we practiced our scales, etudes, and solos there. We both enjoyed playing around, sightreading through new songs, and making up our own songs, too. My brother strongly identified as a songwriter/composer at a young age, so he played the piano a lot. My mother double majored in piano and violin in college, so although her main job was playing the violin in a symphony orchestra, she was eager and willing to play piano for me whenever I needed an accompanist, a luxury I've never quite become accustomed to being without. Some of my favorite memories from childhood are the times when she and I would read through books of non-classical songs together at the piano, with me singing and her playing. That's how I learned most of the jazz standards and ballads I know.
It's not that I didn't watch television or movies as a kid. It's not that I didn't read books or play board and video games or do my school work. I did a lot of other things than play the piano. But, having a piano in my home always was and continues to be a source of great joy to me. I love that I can sit down and play it anytime. It's one of my very favorite things in the world. And, whenever I go to someone's house or to a restaurant or bar or cafe where there is a piano, I feel drawn to it like a squirrel to a birdfeeder. It's hard to believe almost every home had a piano not too long ago, that people played music to entertain each other instead of watching TV, that people felt like music lessons were a necessity in a child's life partly for social reasons. I am always so glad to see pianos. I always want to play them or at the very least touch them gently like I would if saying hello to an old friend.