From raising wild animals to flying airplanes I’m John Beggs and I love it all. I have lived in Madison County Florida all of my life. And I love hittin’ it off playing classics from the ‘20s and ‘30s and a good many out of that range too. My Father says that since I was quite young, I have been interested in music. Hardly was I able to talk, when I was asking my Father to turn up the country radio station, when a song I liked came on and to turn it down when I did not like the song. Because of all that the volume knob in my Father’s truck is now useless. I took mandolin lessons when I was about seven, because I wanted to learn the fiddle. Every fiddle player I’ve ever met said to learn mandolin first. After a year of mandolin lessons, my teacher tried giving me piano lessons, but that didn’t last long because he got a full-time job teaching the school system. Playing the Piano opened plenty of new doors for me. About two years later, I started being taught by a new teacher. She taught me strictly by reading music, I did not like that. I tried to show her how I could play what I heard better than by playing with music. After about a year I quit taking lessons from her because my Father realized I was spending an hour or two a day playing piano, but I never practiced my lessons. I just wanted to play the songs I was hearing.
I was nine, when I heard the performance of the famous ragtime and boogie-woogie pianist, Bob Milne in our small town. My father found out about his annual Ragtime Retreat in Michigan. Bob Milne was strictly a “play it by ear” pianist. That same year we went to Michigan for the retreat. I had a great time there. It was four days of piano playing fun. Bob also gave me a private lesson. When I was exposed to that style of teaching, I knew that was the way I wanted to learn. We met many great musicians at the retreat, including my current piano teacher, Carl Olson. We have been back to the retreat every year since then.
I took violin lessons somewhere down the road, but almost as soon as I began, I stopped. I hadn’t realized just how hard it was and I just knew the piano was my instrument. About a year later, I began taking lessons with Stephanie Parker who still is teaching me lessons now. I realize that also by learning written music, it opens up even more avenues for me. My Father says it takes two teachers to keep up with me. When I was twelve, I entered the World Championship Old Time Piano Playing Contest and Festival. I entered the junior division of the competition which is for ages seventeen and under. I placed fifth. Right now, I play piano accompaniment for the Tallahassee Home School String Orchestra.
I had to cancel my concert scheduled in April due to the coronavirus. Additionally, the Old Time Piano Playing Contest and Festival was cancelled. However, I still practice at least two hours a day and I take my lessons online. I am about to release my second CD, and I hope to bring live entertainment into people’s homes through the internet. See link to John Beggs Live.
When I learn a new song, I will use the software Transcribe! It helps me because I can slow down the music I want to learn and listen to the precise notation that the artist is using. That is the way I prefer to learn at the moment. I used to listen to a song at regular speed. The system I use now is much better.