86-year-old plays piano by ear, entertains guests at Manor House

86-year-old plays piano by ear, entertains guests at Manor House

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - An Ottawa Lake Michigan woman has a special skill - she can play the piano by ear, and has been doing so for nearly 80 years.

With that said, 86-year-old Dottie Hallauer probably could not teach you how to play the piano.

She doesn't know how to sight read.

"I've been fortunate not to have my fingers swell up. I have one finger a little bit bad, but it's been that way a while," said Hallauer.

She started playing when she was six-years-old, when her father hired a musician to teach her how to read music.

"I didn't like it, i didn't like being controlled," said Hallauer. "I wanted to just fly away and play all these songs that my mother sang on her ukulele."

Fortunately Hallauer had an innate gift. She says she can play any song without notes. Just give her the lyrics, let her listen to it once and there you have it.

She played for guests at the Manor House on Thursday. Instead of sheet music, Hallauer referred to a piece of paper with Christmas song titles.

"My mom as a child, she would just hear music, knew music we would get albums, record albums, she'd play them in the house, a couple of days she knew every single song on that album," said Lana Morse, Hallauer's daughter.

After nearly 80 years, her gift still remains a mystery.

"Where she got it from," said Morse. "Nobody knows."

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