A Musical Memoir


This is actually an assignment given to my Creative Writing class back when I was in the ninth grade. I stumbled upon it a few years back and even though I keep cringing at how I wrote then, I decided to somewhat re-work it and attempt to put it in a more flowing style. Sorry, past me, writing this the class before may have still gotten you a hundred, but your writing was horrendous, riddled with the lack of transitions along with terrible closing paragraphs. I don’t even know how to fix it and I’m a tad embarrassed about it. Maybe that’s a good thing.

A Memoir to Music

I began playing piano when I was around four years old. At first I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. When it came to music, I couldn’t bother with learning an instrument when there were so many records, cassettes, VCR’s and CD’s at my disposal. My brother then started receiving drum lessons and he served as an example of what it meant to be passionate about something. So I, being the prideful, annoying little sister that any older brother could have, gleefully followed in his footsteps. My mother inquired whether or not I was serious. Of course, I said yes.

As my first piano instructor conducted the direction and movement of my little fingers, I believed it was magic. We had a piano at home and I would often fool around with it, but it never occurred that I was actually producing something of worth. Even though I was young I had developed near-perfect pitch. Now that it was paired with proper instruction, it was much easier to play whatever caught my fancy. Ironically I myself never fully grasped what having any kind of pitch meant until last year, which is either sad or impressive (I mean, I didn’t even know I had dimples until I actually looked at myself in the mirror when I was in my senior year). My instructor was impressed with how quickly I caught on with the lessons and my progression in music theory. I was then moved to another instructor who was slightly harder and the process of drilling pure theory and technique was repeated. After five or six years of playing at recitals and receiving the standard trophies everyone was apparently entitled to after them, I had become tired of the piano and just tired of music overall. I practically begged my mother to stop taking me to music lessons. I grew such a distaste for them that I pretended I was so ill that would actually come down with a cold or flu. She finally stopped taking me. I didn’t realise how much I would regret stopping music for three years.

For the first year of my ‘piano cleanse’ I forced myself to not touch any piano I saw. I resisted every urge I had just to prove a point to my mother because of my stubborn pride. Two years later it was unbearable. By the third I had started playing piano again. I couldn’t help it. I discovered how much I really loved music along with the imagination, experience, and skill that drove the medium that could bring people to their knees. This time, I now begged my mum to take me back to lessons. It took me months to convince her that I wouldn’t back out of them. As an added bonus I also took up guitar, which I still can’t believe I convinced my parents to let me do.

Guitar lessons were fantastic. My teacher told me that I was sharp and a natural. On the other hand, piano lessons started on a rocky road. The instructor severely underestimated my abilities, which, to be honest, was quite fair to assume since I hadn’t been with an instructor nor formally practiced in three years. It went well with him, but he was eventually offered a higher-paying job at a different school so he left. His replacement was wonderful, to say the least. She did not go easy on me. She had a clear understanding of what I could do and what I’d be able to do so she pushed me. It was with her that, to both of our delights, I discovered near-perfect pitch. That instructor challenged me to invest everything I had in me towards music. I love playing the guitar, and I always will, but piano has been the starting point of it all and I couldn’t be happier with it.

Playing the piano was an enabler. It was the best way I could express my feelings. I’m not exactly someone who is clear in communicating my emotions verbally or in writing. So, music became the crutch I depended on to convey what I needed to. Even if it’s not that obvious, my emotions will always be the core of any song I play or sing and it can even vary the way I perform my own scores. It’s become one of the only ways I can effectively vent and communicate. When I am with someone who is also a serious musician it isn’t necessary for us to talk all that much with each other. What is usually spoken amongst others becomes that much more meaningful. Now, I’ve never been the best at making friends since I can either be ridiculously shy at times or be perceived as shy when I’m really just observing everything someone says and does. Many times I have been sitting alone on a piano bench playing away, escaping reality, and then suddenly notice someone else in the room. A conversation starts and somewhere along the way, I’ve made a friend without trying.

Music also offered relief from the world. Whenever I felt depressed, stressed beyond words, or was put in an irritable mood, I always turned to music. There was no better way to pull myself up, look at my problems straight in the eye, and finally determine the best way to divide and conquer.

I am currently teaching two kids how to play the piano and leading the vocals for the worship team in my church. Music has become the very essence of who I am, and I would never change for the world.



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