Born to Rock
Royal Academy Of Music Sees Talent
In September 1958, at the age of eleven, Reggie left the Reddiford School and started at the local school, Pinner County Grammar School. Luckily, the school's music program was first-rate. The school not only had a grand piano, but the music teacher, Mr. Westgate Smith, was a classical pianist.
Soon after arriving at his new school, Reggie auditioned at the Royal Academy of Music—a school dedicated to teaching gifted children to play music—for possible enrollment as a junior exhibitioner. The junior exhibitioner position would pay for half of Reggie's tuition at the school. Not only did Reggie get accepted, he received a full scholarship to the school—a rarity for a student of his young age.
Did you know?
Though Elton and his father were anything but close, they did share the common love of soccer, or football as it's called in the United Kingdom. All of the Dwights were actually very fond of the sport. Their favorite team was Pinner's local club, Watford.
In later years, once Elton John had reached the peak of his career, he bought the team. During his brief retirement from performing in 1977, the only time he went in public was to watch his favorite team play football.
Helen Piena became Reggie's teacher, and she worked with him every Saturday morning. The first thing the teacher noticed was his ability to play music by ear. This means she would play a song Reggie, without even looking at the sheet music, could play the whole song back to her. This is a remarkable ability and one that few people actually have.
For the next four years, Reggie attended the Royal Academy of Music and learned to fine-tune his gift to play the piano.