“Shall I let you in on a secret?” Miss Ashdown whispered conspiratorially, and then continued without waiting for an answer. “Underneath that evening dress, I had nothing else on.” Jessica’s eyes went wide at the revelation. “Every time I leant over the piano I wondered how much the audience could see down that dress. It was such a turn-on. I channelled all of that energy into my playing.”
Jessica looked back at the photo with fresh eyes, at the low neckline, and the long exposed leg, ending with a delicate foot that she had only just noticed was also bare whilst a pair of small stilettos stood next to the piano. She had never thought of Miss Ashdown as anything but her slightly stuffy teacher. Suddenly she had to readjust to the idea of her as a young woman revelling in taking risks on a public stage.
“I think if I could have played naked I would have done,” Miss Ashdown continued wistfully, not noticing Jessica’s blushes. “I used to practice playing naked, whenever I could. It was just so… free, and raw.” Jessica could feel the intense heat in her cheeks. “You know, so many people love the guitar, because of the way you hold it and close your arms around it, or the cello, because of its sexuality and the power it delivers from right between your legs. But really, there’s sexuality in every instrument, or almost every instrument, and the less that sexuality is given to you by the physical shape of the object, the more it has to come from the musician.”