Queen guitarist Brian May recently made an appearance on the Fret Not podcast. During the show, he remembered the time when he bluffed to pass his music exams.
Brian May is a successful musician known for his career as Queen’s lead guitarist. He co-founded the iconic band back in 1970 with Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor, and they quickly rose to prominence. Considered a virtuoso musician, Brian May is known for his distinctive guitar sound, and the Queen hits he wrote.
When he was a child, May took classical piano lessons. Although Freddie Mercury was the primary pianist of Queen, May would occasionally play the piano while performing with the band. However, back when he was learning the instrument, the guitarist was not that interested in the instrument. According to what he has said in the Fret Not podcast, May even bluffed to pass his exams.
Speaking to Rosie Bennett in the podcast, Brian May talked about the piano lessons he took. He said he went to the classes as he was forced to, and he liked neither playing the piano nor his music teacher. Moreover, May stated that he could not read the chart, so he ended up picking what the teacher played by ear and bluffing.
Brian May told the Fret Not podcast that:
“I went to piano lessons as a kid because I was forced to. I didn’t really like it. It was on a Saturday morning every week, and everybody was out playing while I was trudging over the bridge with my little music case to my music teacher who was a horrible man. He used to kind of hit my fingers if I did it wrong, and he smoked a horrible pipe the whole time.
And he used to give me stuff to sight-read so that I would look at it and make a start. He would say ‘Oh, forget it,’ and brush me aside and play it straight off the chart. Then he’d say ‘Now do it,’ and I could do it then because I’d heard him do it. So I could pick it up by ear, what I couldn’t do was to read the chart. So, for years when I took the music exam, somehow I bluffed that I could read music but I couldn’t. If I’d heard it, I could play it.”
You can check out the rest of the interview below.