I read this one back in the late 60's. A retired musician gets a robot butler to help out around the house. The robot is curious about music, so the retired musician teaches the robot how to play piano. The robot learns really fast, playing perfectly within a few hours. At the end, the robot quits playing, saying something along the lines of, "For me, it's easy. I don't think it's meant to be easy." I'm pretty sure it's not Asimov or Simak, but I could be wrong. It was in a textbook, a collection of stories in my elementary school English class. It stood out to me because it was the only science fiction story in the book (yes, I was a geek even back then.)

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    It smells very Asimov-y. – Some Guy Jul 21 '14 at 3:39
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    I always thought it had more of a Simak feel to it. But I've read most of both writers, and I've never seen it anywhere but that one textbook. – Joe L. Jul 21 '14 at 3:42
  • Reminds me of Asimov's "Cal", though there the eponymous Cal wants to learn to be a writer. And then things get weird. You might also enjoy it, if you haven't read it yet. – R. Martinho Fernandes Jul 21 '14 at 15:17
  • @R. Martinho Fernandes: I'll look that one up. Thnx! – Joe L. Jul 21 '14 at 18:46

Virtuoso by Herbert Goldstone is from 1953. Complementary ISFDB link for anthologies it's in.

“I can also grasp,” the brassy monotone rolled through the studio, “that this… music is not for robots. It is for man. To me it is easy, yes… It was not meant to be easy.”

  • I got lucky. I typed in "fiction piano playing robot" and it was on the first page. – FuzzyBoots Jul 21 '14 at 12:02

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