Music in My Life

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In my house, first grade meant entering the world of piano, and I loved it from my first encounter with middle C. Every week was a new adventure, a new Czerny exercise, or a new scale. My small beginners folder soon disappeared as Mrs. Malin, my piano teacher, brought out her ancient piano books filled with beautiful melodies. She put her copies of sheet music into my very own piano binder, and I walked outside after the lesson standing up straight, head held high and told my mom about the afternoon’s accomplishments. My first piece lay lonely in the binder, calling for other pages. Soon it was filled Chopin, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Brahms. But, after nine years of practicing every day, lessons once a week, and daily fingernail clippings, the binder couldn’t take another page and I couldn’t take another lesson.
“Play that Bach; practice that Czerny!”
I groaned at the thought of playing one more scale. Mrs. Malin was a good teacher, but she was intent on making music and piano my life. I began to dread the practice, let alone the lessons. Mrs. Malin and I were performing a duet, but her melody was the counterpoint of mine. I had other obligations that I wanted to make part of my song, and I felt as if I couldn’t comply with her rigorous regimen. I wanted to attend Snowball, a team-building, outreach program. I was intent on memorizing the periodic tables, Spanish vocabulary, and historical timelines. I put my mind to work, thinking of activities to bring to my once-a-month visit to a retirement home. I worked on choreographing a pom-pon dance for the next football game. Every Thursday I looked forward to spending an hour and a half conversing with my freshman advisory group. Soon my duet with Mrs. Malin came to an end, and for a year and a half the music rested in notebooks, no longer being played. All the while, I still heard the strains of Bach in my mind; I could hear the arpeggios, chords, and adagios singing in my brain.
Now it’s fall of my senior year, and the silence of the music is deafening. I told my mom many times of my desire to sit at the piano and pick up where I left off. But this time the playing is for me and not my teacher. I’m invigorated and committed. My return to music gives my life a new dynamic. I am involved in new rhythms of study and am experiencing powerful crescendos of friendships.
I’ve come to realize that I don’t give up on things. I vigorously pursue my studies and extra-curricular activities with passion and enthusiasm. I measure my success not only through excellent grades, but through the personal satisfaction of a job well done. It’s crazy, when I have so many issues to manage during such an important year, that I have added one more exercise to attend to. But, I derive so much happiness from my fingers gliding across the keys. The music gives me a sense of who I am.
Many times I’ve shifted direction because of an event that occurred or because of advice someone has given me. But rarely does an absence of experience contribute to meaningful change. In my case, the music resonated more when it wasn’t there.





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