The magnetic pull of eighty-eight black and white keys on my fingers was present even before my first piano lesson.
It started with my mom. She was set on her children having musical knowledge, since she never had the opportunity to take lessons when she was growing up. So, when I was 6, I started playing violin. However, I spent more time trying to plunk out the violin sheet music on the old upright piano in our living room than I did actually practicing the violin. My mom took notice, and I switched over to piano lessons.
The itch in my fingers to play has only grown as I’ve grown older. I find myself seeking out a place to play whenever I have free time and wherever I am: at school, friend’s houses, and even on vacation. Sitting on the piano bench with my fingers on the keys, I am at home, even if I’m thousands of miles away from my house.
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The moment I sit down at a piano, I unconsciously let out a huge breath, like I’ve been holding it in since the last time I played. A wave of serenity washes over me as I twiddle my hands for a second, deciding where on the keys to start. As my fingertips meet the cool, smooth ivories, my worries vanish. All the cares of the day fade away with the first note; any problem can be resolved by resolving a chord. The world fades to the black and white of the keys in front of me. Playing piano is therapeutic for me because I can take a break from the stress of reality and express my feelings through the music I play. Suddenly, emotions that, in my head, are swirling and confusing can be released through my fingers into musical patterns. I can spend hours at a piano without realizing the passing of time. Lost in music has always been my favorite place to be, and the piano is my favorite place to get lost.
There have been several low points in my life where I’ve wanted nothing more than to get lost. During those moments, the piano was a constant source of consolation and comfort. Music has been there for me at times when no one else has. To be able to spread that support and inspiration to others through my own playing is one of the reasons I love to play so much. Piano is an incredibly expressive instrument. It is easy to connect to others while playing, whether it’s through a dramatic, complicated piece that touches on people’s heartstrings or the simple chords of Top 40 tune that get everyone singing and dancing along.
Yes, I get lost in the music, and love to encourage others to do the same. But being at the piano is a powerful place for me to be because more often than not, I have found myself there. Playing piano has allowed me to discover and shape bits of myself that otherwise would’ve gone unnoticed. It gave me a channel for my emotions and a pathway to expressing my individuality. Meticulous practice has reaped for me the rewards of a solid work ethic, patience, and other disciplines. When writing my own music, my creativity and imagination can run free. Playing piano gives me a voice that can stand out in a crowd, and I am confident in that voice. These qualities I have learned and developed have followed me into areas of my life outside of music, allowing me to face day-to-day life with more certainty in myself and my abilities. Sitting on a piano bench with my fingers on the keys is the happiest and most familiar place for me to be because it is the easiest place for me to be myself.