Ben Margetts is a senior at Murray High School near Salt Lake City, Utah. His talent at the piano has amazed all who know him. He currently studies with the head of the piano department at the University of Utah and has toured Europe with her and several fellow students. At the age of 17, his accomplishments are nothing short of amazing.
When did you start playing the piano?
I started as a first or second-grader. To tell you the truth, I can't remember exactly when. My teacher was a neighborhood lady named Mrs. Torgersen. She really enabled me to play music that attracted me to the instrument.
Did you enjoy playing from the start?
I remember the very first day, in fact. I was excited because my best friend started at the same time. It was something new, so I was okay with it. Plus, our grandparents gave us their old, old piano and we decided to make the most of it.
What has it taken to get you where you are now?
I can't say it's been an easy journey, but through my parents' prodding, I've stuck with it. Actually it's weird to think that I have never not taken piano. I've had three great teachers and I appreciate them. Through 10 years of lessons and thousands of hours, I still try to absorb all I can.
What has been the most beneficial aspect in playing the piano?
Mostly, the big deal about playing the piano is sticking with it. There have been countless times when I've been so frustrated that I wanted to quit, but thanks to the guidance of my parents, I haven't.
Often when children take piano, it is either a big part of their life, or just another chore. Piano, I think, is almost a lifetime achievement. Learning the basics as a kid is just the first step. It is amazing how much more there is to it. It's unbelievable and it's worth the hard work.
How did the opportunity for you to tour Europe come about?
My current piano teacher is the head of the piano department at the University of Utah. Every two years she takes a group of her students on a European tour. About 20 pre-college age kids as well as 20 college students go. It was a great opportunity to spend time in areas where classical music really developed. We visited Mozart's birthplace, the Liszt Academy in Hungary and had a great time.
What have you had to sacrifice to be as good as you are?
I haven't really had to give up anything to be where I am today. A couple hours a day of my free time is all. I think that I have gained much more than I have had to sacrifice.
I guess I have almost had to give up some friendships. People who have no understanding of the instrument don't see how important it is to someone who has a passion for it. Unfortunately, I had a couple of friends who took my playing in jest and sometimes made fun of me for it. I had to take that in stride and not share that part of me with them. In that respect, part of our friendship is gone.
What are your future plans?
Most likely I'll attend the University of Utah and hopefully I can win some scholarships. I plan on majoring in piano performance (after a Latter Day Saints mission) and maybe going into pre-med or pre-vet. Career-wise, I'd like to go into medicine. This spring I'll be doing some competitions, and there are plans for a trip to compete in Washington or Louisiana. I'm looking forward to that.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.