An Autistic Young Man's Rememberance of Taking Piano Lessons

by Scott Howse
(Livonia, Mi, USA)


Rick was my first organ teacher
He never knew what to expect from me
Most of the time I was terrible
Once I was scared
Why I don’t know
Spent the lesson in the bathroom
Finally heard my Mom
pounding on the door
My Mom made me keep going
That made me mad
What made me madder was how I sounded
Nothing went right
Wrong notes, bad rhythm, I stunk
Over and over, my Mom said “It’s always terrible
The first time. Get over it”
Countless hours I spent on that instrument
Trying to get it together
Couldn’t get my hands and feet working
Tried the piano, too
That wasn’t much better
Neither one of them would let me quit
That made me mad
For several years this went on
Finally, I started to believe them
My hands and feet actually started to work
I even played in a recital
I had conquered my fears
I told my Riley Middle School friends
I could play the organ and piano
I saw respect in their eyes
There was a talent show, why not play?
I found my song, from my favorite movie,
Chariots of Fire
For that night, I would be Eric Liddell
I practiced for hours and hours
Wanted it to be perfect
Remembered Eric saying
“When I run, I feel God’s pleasure”
Wanted to feel the same way
Wore my running sweatsuit
To be like him
Now I was on the stage
Didn’t know there would be hundreds of people
At first my hands shook
It was hard to play
After a few measures, suddenly nobody was there
My hands remembered the song
Even though I was scared
Soon it was over
Thunderous clapping, cheering from my friends
People stood up
I had conquered myself again

.....This was originally published on It was written by Scott Howse, a 29-year-old high-functioning autistic young man. The take-home from this poem is - don't give up on these kids! What is important is that whoever teaches them has perseverance, patience and a sense of humor.

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