88 keys lay before me, 88 doors never unlocked until my freshman year of high school. Seven years ago, I had my very first piano lesson. Before then, I thought music was meant to be played like a checklist, each note and measure building up to the inevitable return to silence. I never knew that music is meant to be savored, notes melodically stringing together like veins in the human body. Each vein in our body is essential, carrying blood towards our heart. Similarly, I found each key on the piano vital, transporting soul from our hearts and through our ears. The moment I touched my first key, middle C, on the piano, I knew I had found my key to music.
Bono once said, “Music can change the world because it can change people”. Since my first piano lesson, music has changed me. While the keys on the piano are black and white, playing the piano allowed me to share the spectrum of creativity, emotion, and humanity I had not found the courage to voice. So many things in our lives are out of our control, yet I found comfort in the feelings that piano creates. More so, I found expression in the seemingly endless variations of styles, key signatures and techniques.
Perhaps my unconventional journey with music can also change the world. With the increasing number of six-year-old piano prodigies on YouTube and the toxic, competitive environment we live in today, it is easy to believe that mastery has a cutoff age. However, I am proof that the place you start does not determine how far you can go. There are only 88 keys on the piano, keys that are open to everyone, but only connect to those who invest passion, diligence and perseverance. Of the many lessons the piano has taught me, the greatest one is this: “Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put the passing time to the best possible use.” –Earl Nightingale