I took piano for 10 years... even though I couldn't read music. Despite being an extremely fast and proficient book reader (if I do say so myself), reading those two staffs of music was impossible for me. And why the hell are the staffs so far apart?! No one can read both of them at the same time, can they??! I can play about 10 songs - even some fairly complicated like Pachelbel's Cannon in D - because I worked and worked to memorize the right hand so that I would only have to "read" one staff on the music sheets.
But apparently this primitive method of learning music would fail me in college where my most embarrassing musical moment occurred. In a music history elective, my professor, Carmen DeLeone, who was actually an orchestra maestro in his career, asked the 300+ lecture hall if anyone could play piano. He wanted to demonstrate some musical principles with the piano and his violin. I raised my hand (because... in essence, I CAN, right?) and he called me to the front. He handed me some sheet music and said he'd play the violin first and I could repeat with the piano. When I said that I couldn't actually READ music, he said, "Oh! You play by ear? No problem" and tossed out a little jingle on his violin.
...Which, of course, I could not copy.
He said (out loud... in the room of 300 students) that I played worse than he did. (I think this is not a compliment?)
And thus any dreams I might have harbored for a career in music were dashed. *wink!*
However... If I KNEW that one day, I'd get toTHIS level of awesomeness when I was a kid learning a new instrument, I think I might have stuck with it...
These guys make the cello look (and sound!) COOL!. No Pachelbel or Mozart or Beethoven for them... Who knew that just two dueling cellos could play Michael Jackson almost better than Michael Jackson?!!
Hey... do cellists only have to read one staff??