The Magical Musical Box

May 25, 2011
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If you are reading this, it means I am dead. Orrr, it could mean that I am graduating and actually a part of me will cease to exist while I begin the next chapter of my life. I never thought it would end this way after thirteen years – the story of the magical musical box. I’ll be honest, I don’t recall the first time I laid eyes on the piano, but I imagined it would have been quite daunting in size at the age of four. However, I would quickly find out the challenges that awaited on the keys were far more formidable.

As a result, I would attempt to avoid the piano. Suddenly I’m thirsty. Suddenly I’m also tired even after my afternoon nap. Suddenly I need to use the restroom. Only five minutes? That’s how long that routine lasted. What else could I do to skip my daily practice? I even contemplated quitting. Nevertheless, my parents were insistent.

Slowly but surely, I began to enjoy my time at the piano. This enjoyment wasn’t derived from making musical melodies but getting away with my daily piano practice. For instance, I would lie on the bench and use my feet to merely make some noise, which I considered to be practice. When I first started taking lessons, I struggled with the fundamentals, but my piano teacher Mrs. Wells was confident that I could master them. As a typical hyperactive five-year-old, I have to admit it was a challenge to focus my abundant energy into hours of sitting before an inanimate box. Nevertheless, I learned to practice hard through her encouragement. Accordingly, she thought it was time to enroll in piano competitions. I felt nervous and anxious at the thought of these contests. How could I play in front of an audience? Would I get the trophy? These childish remarks and thoughts were soon pacified by Mrs. Wells’ actions. She never hesitated to answer any of my questions, and as a result, my confidence and skill grew. Furthermore, she often went past the scheduled lesson time to make me play the piece again and again to ensure I retained what I had learned. At first, I resented this additional time since I did everything in my power to avoid the piano. However, as time went on, I appreciated Mrs. Wells’ extra instruction. I began to excel at piano thanks to her time and confidence in me.

The piano contests made me practice harder and longer. Mrs. Wells had presented me these challenges because she knew that I could win the contests and ultimately learn the more important lessons of perseverance and dedication. She challenged me to further my potential. There were many times when I was flustered at the piano bench. After all, I was supposed to transform the melody and harmony into colorful picture from the colorless keys. On the other hand, Mrs. Wells’ encouragement seemed to be inexhaustible. “I know you’re struggling through this, but everyone else entering the competition is fighting the same battle. I know you can do it. Don’t give up.” Gradually, she helped build my confidence in piano, music, and eventually life. I recently won my twentieth career first place in my last piano competition this past April. However, the more important awards were the confidence and perseverance I had gained from these trials and tribulations.

In retrospect, I would have never believed in a million years that I would actually enjoy spending time at the piano. My views about music and piano have changed one hundred and eighty degrees. I am forever grateful for my parents’ adamant stance on piano. Now, I can’t stop playing the piano and am constantly interrupted by my parents to go eat dinner or do the nightly calculus homework that I was putting off. The piano has changed from a nice spot to lie down into a refuge where I can gather my thoughts and reflect by playing the piece that mirrors my mood. Music is essential in my life. Although my piano lessons and my time with Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart may be coming to an unthinkable end, I have ventured into a new genre on the piano that may keep my passion and involvement in music alive – learning popular songs on the radio and singing along. Rightfully so, one of my last activities in high school will be performing “Never Say Never” by The Fray at the talent show this Friday. Maybe the three word title reflects my thirteen years with piano and how I’ve come to love it. After all, if I’ve learned one thing from the piano, it’s to never say never.





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