This is the story of my experiences in music through my piano classes:
When me and my sister were six years old, my dad bought a digital piano and placed it into the empty corner of our living room. It was a Roland brand. It was the first time I saw a physical piano, but over the years, I have come to love the fact that I could create music, and shower my parents with gratitude for this life-changing experience. I think I would have failed to complete assignments about myself; for example, leadership, without it. That digital piano was the beginning of my journey through music.
I got my first piano teacher soon afterwards, and she was quite strict. Nowadays, I feel slightly guilty because I had trouble understanding music terms, as English is my second language. She must’ve been frustrated. I don’t really remember this, but apparently my dad had to sit through the classes with us, and continue to teach us over and over again because we just didn’t understand it. He retaught, referencing from the teacher’s notes, on how to read the notes, drawing the swirling treble clefs, and bass clefs, and pointing out what we did wrong. However, my dad is not a piano teacher; he got frustrated with us many times. In the present day, he has forgotten what he has learned, and the little chicks he brought up have jumped off the branch and are continuing to fly without assistance.
I remember one time, both me and my sister had memorized a melody, and could play it with our eyes closed. Of course, now that I look back on it, it wasn’t a very hard song; it was a beginners’ song. But I could not help but be proud of myself, when my dad smiled and told me to show the teacher. In a child’s perspective, my first teacher seemed very conservative. We continued with her for a year, and when we moved houses, our close aunt recommended a new teacher to us.
I call her by her first name; Mrs. Lisa. She has taught us for the past almost ten years, and still continues to teach us to this day. She is quite different than my first teacher; bright, colourful, and vivid. She used to be an elementary school teacher, but changed to teaching piano.
Over the years, I have played in her flamboyant concerts, prepared for my exams – which is the most scariest and stressful thing in the world – and gained much knowledge of the musical world. However, there is still a long ways away until I reach the level I want to be in. On YouTube, sometimes I watch child prodigies play Beethoven and Mozart pieces and it makes my self confidence drop back to zero. However, I will continue to move along slowly, but steadily, like the turtle in the race.
Sometimes I feel incompetent, weak, and desperate to catch up with the other, more amazing, naturally-talented people, and other times, I feel powerful, and in control of the piano, weaving the notes in and out of the musical score.
When people ask me what music I listen to, I reply with “instrumental”. I don’t think it as embarrassing because it’s different from what most people listen to but, if you listen to orchestras or instrument covers, you can discover that it is a beautiful and abstract sound, and it can be created from the heart; not with technology.
When my sister and I reached grade 6 piano, our teacher recommended us to get a grand piano since the keys are harder to press and can make better sound than the digital one. It was also because in exams, we had to play on a grand piano. As a result, my dad got us a baby grand piano; it is the Hailun Japanese brand, and I consider it one of my treasures.
In the present day, piano – and music in general – are part of who I am today; and has become an irreplaceable space inside my heart, and it has taught many things like perseverance, patience, determination, and the fact that hard work can pull through. After all, Royal Conservatory’s slogan is “The finest instrument is the mind”.
3 thoughts on “Memoirs of My Music”
Honestly, I loved reading this piece because I don’t think enough people appreciate proper music now-a-days, and in your sharing your experience with playing the piano, you have the ability to reconnect a lot of people to what real music sounds like.
As one who cannot play the piano, not only do I have mad respect for you, but I also found it quite interesting to read about the process you have undergone in learning to play this beautiful instrument. I think one of the most profound things you said in this piece was,
“. . . it can be created from the heart; not with technology.”
I think more people need to realize this as well, for (in my opinion) most of the modern day music isn’t heart-felt, and I think that piano/orchestral compositions are the purest form of music, for that is what music is supposed to sound like, if that makes sense. I think you did a really great job of honouring that in this piece.
The only thing I have to offer in terms of improvement would be to add pictures to your piece, because I think that a picture or two would really enhance your writing.
Overall great job!!!!
I have so much appreciation for the fact that you made this post and I absolutely love you.
I personally understand the influence music has on an individual’s life as a singer, and I also used to play piano when I was young.
I feel bad though, as if I am not worthy of reading this piece and feeling the love for music, because unlike you, I never took piano seriously.
My parents had me take it up at the age of 5, and I played non-seriously until about the 3rd grade, where I finally began on my journey of advancing in levels and heading towards the RCM Examinations. But at one point, I believe in the 6th grade, I suddenly dropped it. I never dropped my singing (God forbid) but the idea of developing friendships and delving into sports like basketball took priority over that of the piano. And though I do play the instrument from time to time, and have my own moments of nothing but pure love for playing it, it never lasts and I never practice. I never fully dedicate myself to it.
I am inspired by your love of music and can see it is another part of you that you can never ever let go.
I wish I could have made piano a part of myself like that.
Thank you for this inspiring piece and please continue to write about your love for music Kelley!
Have a lovely weekend ♥
Being a piano player myself, I can highly relate to a lot of the things that you talked about in this. Such as the constant feelings of inferiority towards child prodigies, and the simple, pure joy that you can get from learning a piece. I think that you managed to portray these situations perfectly, and I found it very interesting to read this piece and hear about the process through the words of someone else.
I loved your use of metaphors, I especially liked the line that Hope pointed out earlier “It can be created from the heart; not with technology.” I find that the usage of digital music has become increasingly popular, and although I don’t mind it myself, I have a much deeper appreciation for the more organic music.
I very much enjoyed reading this piece, and I personally, I would advise to never give up on playing the piano, as it’s one of the most incredible gifts that one can be given.