Music Lessons This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Somehow the collective mind of modern America has transformed the piano into a torture device. We can all envision the huge, creaky piano, the beady-eyed, firm-jawed instructor barking out commands, a child clumsily trying to pick out a song as a metronome swings back and forth, relentlessly pushing him on.

Apparently, America has never played an instrument.

For me, the piano is no tool of agony but a place of refuge. After a whirlwind day, there’s something relieving about sitting at a piano and making music. At these times, I play for no one but myself. The music I create is my own.

On a rough day, I’ll pull out some classical music, thoughtlessly mimicking the notes with my tired hands. More often, however, I improvise, rolling out chords, making up melodies. The song mirrors my soul, as harsh or soothing as my mood. Some days, it is a smooth, bright, flowing tune but on others it’s a dull, melancholic clutter of dismal minor chords and dissonant notes. Sometimes, in a fit of anger or grief, I pound the keys until I can no longer tell augmented from diminished, until what was meant to be a high-strung seventh degrades into a jumble of rumbling notes that have nothing to do with each other. I make mistakes. But, in the end, it doesn’t matter. I continue playing and inevitably, I return to the sweet flowing chords where it all began.

The collective mind is wrong. Who would believe that, simply by sitting in front of an instrument and creating a piece of beauty, the whirlwind can be stilled? That a melody could soothe confusion and fears? Perhaps these questions are yet another sign of the world’s shortsightedness.

In music, I have found the answer: beauty is not an intangible prize for the world to chase. It is something simpler, something nearer to the heart. It is the sound of a piano.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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