Playing the Piano


Adapted from Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball Jr., Spencer W. Kimball (1977), 57–58, 61, 79–80, 232 and Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball (2005), xvii, xx.

Playing the Piano

President Spencer W. Kimball(click to view larger) Events in the life of President Spencer W. Kimball(click to view larger)

Illustrations by Sal Velluto and Eugenio Mattozzi

When Spencer was young, his father saved money to buy a piano.

Father: Children, learning a musical skill is very valuable.

Spencer thought his fingers were too short and chubby for piano playing, and they were often chapped from playing marbles.

After a few piano lessons, Spencer wanted to quit.

Father: Spencer, if you’ll practice the piano today, I’ll let you do that instead of digging ditches with your brothers.

Spencer: Yes, sir!

When Spencer was 14, he joined a band and earned money playing at dances.

He also played for his friends at parties.

Friend 1: Let’s sing!

Friend 2: Who will play?

Friend 1: Oh, I can’t play without my sheet music.

Friend 3: I haven’t practiced.

Spencer: You can play a hundred times better than I can, but I’ll try.

His musical skill helped him years later as a missionary.

Elder Kimball: Is that a Kimball piano? That’s my name too. Would you like to hear a hymn played on a Kimball by a Kimball?

Man: All right. Come in.

As an Apostle, he often played for families he stayed with during his Church travels. He wrote, “They’ll forget my sermons, but they’ll never forget the singing.”