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Canadian Heritage

Horace Parlan

Horace Parlan discusses how he started on piano

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Horace Parlan discusses the affect Polio had on his life and musical ability

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Horace Parlan discusses his work schedule

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Q: “How did you start playing piano? Why piano as opposed to trumpet or drums or something?”

A: “First of all, when I was five, I had polio and I was paralyzed on the right side all the way down and recovered, but not totally recovered, so I have a problem with both my right leg and the arm and hand. As a result, my parents thought that perhaps playing an instrument would be good therapy. So at the age of seven, they engaged a piano teacher for me, but the one that they engaged apparently she didn't really have the knack of knowing how to approach the problem because after three months, she told me to give it up, you know, just forget about it. And as a matter of fact, I did until about five years later; I started getting interested again because I was hearing a lot of really good music on the radio.”