My dad played piano, so there was always a piano at the house. I was in a band in 4th grade and had friends back then that are still close friends now — we were all into music. We all took piano lessons. We all loved the same styles of music. We got into high school and were trying to figure out the songs on the radio and show each other what we’d figured out. So I’ve always been surrounded by a lot of close friends that would challenge each other to play music. It was fun in a competitive kind of way.
I can remember when Van Halen’s “Jump” came out on the radio. It was about who could figure it out first. Who could get it right? Toto’s “Rosanna” was another one… the hits of the day that had all the different keyboard parts. We challenged each other. And it was like that right on up through college, and even today. We’re all just friends. We hung out. We’d clown. We’d share. And we learned. If we got stuck on something, we always had someone who was a little better who could help us figure out the rest.