I started piano lessons, aged 7, with a very prim and utterly humourless teacher called Miss Butler. She wore a severe grey bun and spectacles, held very rigid views and was unable to comprehend my ability at such a young age to memorise all that was put before me and my desire to bash out a tune for enjoyment. Subsequently, complaining to my Mother, who suggested that perhaps she should teach me something more interesting like jazz, for instance, was met with outrage – hence the early demise of those lessons!
After that, I started learning the violin from age 10 and eventually, I joined the Kensington Symphony Orchestra in London for eleven years. We performed regular concerts. including one in Smith Square, London that was broadcast on Radio 3 for the premier performance of Elgar's Piano Concerto, Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, etc.
During the 1980’s, I performed with The Philbeach Society, an amateur operatic society based in London where productions of Gilbert & Sullivan operas and many other works were performed twice a year in the Barbican and also at Questers Theatre, West London.
We moved down to Surrey 30 years ago, I took up piano again and sang with the Surrey Police Choir for 13 years. I have played at Student Master Classes at the Hindhead Music Centre in Surrey and my own compositions have been performed in Guildford Cathedral and also on National radio (Classic FM) over a four year period.
I am now starting to play classical piano once more and have been experimenting with orchestral arrangements of popular classics. I play both by ear and am now revisiting my rusty sight-reading skills.
I became critically ill 23 years ago and now I am largely housebound in a wheelchair, which curiously opened up a whole new world of potential for me.
During this time, I learned new keyboard skills and have been a member of various music keyboard forums where I have increased my knowledge and experience. In 2009, I published my current website and now also have a separate, very substantial cookery website as I have a great love of experimenting with new dishes - www.susiedragescookerypages.co.uk
In addition to the above, I have eleven music albums on Keyboard Player, which continues to be work in progress. Being able to share my music globally is a great joy for me.
I had the privilege of performing concerts from 2007, both as a keyboard performer as well as a vocalist with themed, flexible and diverse programmes with more than 80 different concert programmes (these are listed on my Music Page of my website as well as a listing of 2,000 vocal tracks). To date, I have performed more than 300 concerts throughout Surrey, South West London, Surrey, East Hampshire and West Sussex.
In 2014, my wonderful friend Joe Peters, who sadly died in 2016, asked me to record my vocals with his music. We managed to complete seven for professional recording purposes, and he had a whole selection of big band numbers for me to do, but we could not finish the project. Joe entrusted me with an archive of his music and so I decided to dedicate a page on my website to his music and his brilliant abilities to orchestrate were extraordinary. You can hear all of this by following this link - https://www.susiedrage.com/the-music-of-joe-peters
However, ill health and Covid 19 have finally brought an end to these concerts and I now work from my studio and contribute to online music forums and Facebook groups as well as my three websites. Now, I have started recording vocals onto themed Juke Boxes on my website. https://www.susiedrage.com/music-
I joined the Yamaha Club in 2007 who have been a fantastic resource for technical knowledge for all things musical and have attended their annual Events. I have also had a number of articles published in their bi-monthly magazine.
This started me on an expensive journey of purchasing and trading up all the Tyros range as well as the CVP pianos. Currently, I have a Yamaha Genos TRX system and also CVP 809PE. I use these instruments with Logic Pro X software plus various plug-ins. This has allowed me to explore the art of orchestration and I continue to enjoy the challenge of creating music like this, together with various excellent software programmes.
In addition, I have a beautiful Steck Grand piano, built in 1929 and shipped over from the United States - it has a superb mechanism for playing Duo Art parchment rolls electrically. This comes with an extensive collection of rolls performed by either the composer or the celebrated artist of the day. You can see photos and hear a few examples - https://www.susiedrage.com/pianola-collection
in 2012, I started performing vocal concerts in place of instrumental ones having invested in an expensive mic set up plus state of the art sound equipment with a professional stage sound system, Bose L1 Compact Model.
This led to the start of an extraordinary project where I had the privilege of working with Empire Recording Studios, Guildford, Surrey over a period of four years recording three albums - MOMENTS, MOMENTS TO REMEMBER AND MOMENTS OF ROMANCE launched on iTunes, Amazon and other global download stores as well as on my KP Music Website pages.
I regard this experience amongst my greatest and proudest achievements.