The Keys of My Life

February 29, 2008
I have been playing the piano ever since I was seven years old. It has been a huge part of my life. When I first started playing the piano, I noticed that I had been given a gift and loved it. I practiced all the time and couldn’t stop. When I play the piano it gives me a sense of freedom. Freedom to express myself, freedom to explore myself, and freedom to play all kinds of music. It is like my sanctuary, or a place where I want to be alone. It gives me a place to escape to when I need to forget my problems for a while. Playing the piano has helped me develop self discipline, perseverance, individuality, and artistic expression. Learning the piano has made a significant impact on me, not only for enjoyment, but it has also given me a sense of accomplishment.
The piano opened the door to the world of music for me. It was a gateway to playing different musical instruments. It sparked an interest for me wanting to pursue piano or music education into college and possibly professionally. I realized I had an ear for music and a natural ability to recognize musical phrases, rhythms, and patterns. It also gave me set of diverse challenges. These challenges include interpreting different types of styles, memorizing countless pages of music, and performing in front of people. When working on a song, I have to first realize how to play it. It could be a loud, fast song, or a slow, soft one. Almost all of the time I am given piano music, it has to be memorized. This is not the easiest thing in the world; in fact it can be exceedingly tricky. But the more practice I put into it, the better it becomes. When playing in front of people for a recital or some kind of performance, the presence of the audience can cause me to forget what I’m playing; this is when in experience comes into play. The more experience I receive, the easier performing for an audience becomes to master.
I have been involved in many competitions in playing the piano and one of the best feelings in the world is getting a “1” or a superior. These two ratings are the two highest ratings that can be received in the two types of competition. But waiting for that rating after performing is a very suspenseful process and extremely nerve racking. After completing the piece the only thing that I’m thinking about is what mistakes that I made and if it was performed well enough to receive the highest rating. I usually doubt that I got a good rating and pessimistic about the whole thing, but I usually end up with what I deserved. I have received the best rating possible with competing for piano every time except for once, and that was really hard to go through. After preparing for the competition for about three months, I felt as if I did all of that practicing for nothing. But then after thinking about it, I realized that that was just a drop in the roller coaster and I needed to rise up again so I could try and get the rating I wanted next time.
I don’t only play the piano for my own gratification. Throughout the year, I am asked countless times to accompany someone, play for musicals, and perform along with a group, such as the jazz band. While this is almost always an experience I enjoy, I am presented with the challenge of mastering new music each time I play. I have to learn each new piece of music and understand its unique qualities in order for it to sound pleasing to the listener. I have learned that when I apply the same discipline, concentration, and effort to life’s challenges, I am most likely to be successful.

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