John Man, young pianist and talker, regaled a group of friends and colleagues with yet another fascinating story in which he sight-read some music brilliantly in vaguely adverse circumstances.
“It was totally crazy,” he said. “I went in to the lesson or audition or recital and was given a piece of music I had never seen before, probably because of a humorous sequence of events like a miscommunication or error on someone else’s part, and I had to sight-read that music in front of everyone which I did brilliantly!”
Friends report that even though they knew of Man’s incredible sight-reading skills and could therefore predict the triumphant way in which the anecdote would almost certainly end, they were nevertheless gripped by the intense drama and suspense. “When he walked out onto that stage and was given the piece of music he had never seen before, that was the point where I wondered, ‘oh my goodness, what will happen next? Will it go well or not go well?’ But then it did go well, probably because he has excellent sight-reading skills.”
Man remains humble about the whole event, making sure not to take any personal credit for his achievement because he was actually born with his amazing sight-reading skills, fully-formed. “Sometimes, I don’t even mean to play well,” he said. “It just comes out that way.”
We spoke to Man’s teacher, Dorothy Borothy, to discuss Man’s extraordinary sight-reading skills. “Ah, yes, the sight-reading,” she said. “Well, you know, it is useful, isn’t it? Like a cup. You can put water in a cup. Or milk.”
Flushed with success from his recent performance featuring his brilliant sight-reading skills, Man is looking forward to using them in the future for other charmingly last-minute performances. “I’m not saying that sight-reading is the most important skill a musician can have,” he said, “because I don’t need to say that; everyone knows that.”