It was my eldest daughter, Liberty, who drove the search to find a new teacher. Before long, they were under the tutelage of one Mr Sterling, who also taught music at the local secondary school.
That was many years and many hours of piano lessons ago. Mr Sterling, who has now retired from his teaching position, continues to visit us weekly to guide the youngest two of my four accomplished pianists.
I have come to think of Mr Sterling as much more than just our piano tutor. He is a friend. As he has watched my children grow and mature, I have watched his two sons do likewise.
This post is about his younger son, Joe.
Joe Sterling is one of those people that shines with an inner light. He has a mass of curly hair and a friendly smile. Although his dad plays down his own influence, I don't find it surprising that Joe is a gifted musician and vocalist.
I remember him as a young lad singing the Once in Royal David City first verse solo at the church Carol Service. I think his voice must have been on the point of breaking at the time because it wasn't a perfect performance - there were definitely a few wobbles - but it didn't matter.
He was a member of a popular band at school - The Froliks - (my children still tease me because of how I can't help dancing and singing along to their song "Bring Back the Disco") but I always enjoyed his solo acoustic performances the most. His cover of "Cannonball" by Damien Rice moved me enough to request it during a busking style gig at a school event. He willingly obliged and made my day.
I was very excited for him when he got a minor acting role in the 2007 movie Atonement (my excitement may have had something to do with the fact that I adore James McAvoy who played the male lead). I never actually spotted Joe when I watched the DVD (a victim of the cutting room maybe?) but what an amazing experience that must have been.
Since leaving school, Joe has been working in musical theatre and most impressively, has collaborated to write a musical - "Roundabout". The following video is Joe's performance of Sophie's Song which was the inspiration for the musical.
Joe's talent for songwriting is starting to be recognised and I am very proud to own his debut album "Somewhere in My Mind - the Songs of Joe Sterling". The CD features songs from the musical (including Sophie's Song) sung by a host of West End talents.
My favourite track (although I can't honestly say that my natural bias didn't influence my choice!) is "You Could be the One, They Said" sung by Joe himself.
The album is well worth a listen and Joe Sterling is definitely a name to watch out for in the future.