Once upon a time, my mom and dad bought a piano for our family’s Christmas gift. Without telling my brother or I, they watched and waited to see which one of their little ones would be most drawn to the instrument – which one would play around with it the most. A year later, I found out I had won the unknown “contest,” with my reward being piano lessons!
Starting at the age of 8, I walked weekly to the house of my teacher and began the wonderful world of the piano lessons. Over the many years of lessons, studying the piano became an important part of my identity. I became known as the “piano girl” in my small rural high school, playing for Solo and Ensemble Festivals, accompanying the school choir, and performing in recitals.
One of my great inspirations as a young musician was my grandfather. He was a musician himself, and getting to play a little something for him during his twice yearly visits – Christmas and summer vacation – always filled me with nervous excitement. Grandpa listened intently to each little piece I played, and would clap his hands once up high in the air as his way of saying “Bravo!” When I graduated from high school, Grandpa gave me his old copy of Hungarian Rhapsody that he had played as a teen. I was blessed to have him in the audience as I played the piece at my Senior Recital in college, and blessed again to play it for him at his funeral, in tribute.
Teaching piano has been an amazing way to give my students the experiences I cherished as a budding musician that all contributed to my growth as a person. The discipline of weekly music study, practicing each day in preparation for the next lesson. Perseverance when you can’t get that one scale fingering down. Challenging yourself to sight read through an entire new piece. The thrill of landing that big ending in recital. The excitement over getting a medal at Festival. Playing for singers and instrumentalists and the fun of collaboration. Sticking with it when you feel too tired or too busy to practice. Playing the piano is not just about learning an instrument, it’s about discovering yourself through music.
I’m qualified to teach music because I have a University degree that says so. But more importantly, I’m qualified to teach music because it’s my calling. I felt drawn to teaching because music is such a big part of my life that I wanted to be able to inspire others to know the wonder of it, too. To encourage my students to know experience the joy and freedom of self-expression. Teaching music means helping people know how to be more fully human!