Originally posted to Odyssey, August 8, 2016
As long as I can remember, our house has been filled with music. Our parents told us we had to learn an instrument once we were old enough, so music ranging from guitar to piano to violin could be heard ringing through the halls. I chose piano, and it was the best decision I ever made at seven years old.
Learning an instrument for some is a chore, others a challenge. It’s frustrating, difficult, but incredibly rewarding. I never thought about dropping it; I was constantly practicing, and I’m sure my parents were sick of hearing me play after half an hour spent on two songs. Piano runs in the family–my mom, uncle, grandmother and grandfather all play or have played. At first, piano seemed to serve a merely practical purpose. It gave me a great memory due to having to memorize every song, made typing easy and gave me something to do at a talent show. But those weren’t why I continued to play. I loved the music, loved the ability to create out of nothing, loved the connection to something unexplainable.
I still remember the first song I played where I didn’t have to think about the notes or the story behind them; I simply had to feel. I didn’t have to say anything; the music said it for me. It was cathartic, a delving into emotion and a release of spirit without really trying. It’s difficult to describe, that feeling. There’s a swelling in your heart, a weightlessness in your bones as the music moves through you and with you. It sounds like an over-exaggeration but anyone who has ever played an instrument and had a true passion for it will understand that feeling.
That’s why we play. We can express emotion without words, create stories with a single note, and connect to everyone without leaving the piano bench. It’s like a superpower, and it makes us feel invincible, if only for the length of a song.