Hola! As mentioned in a previous blog, I play piano. I began piano lessons at about 7 years old and continued throughout high school. Within that time, I competed, accompanied, and taught students of my own. When I got to college, I tried to continue with piano but never seemed to have time to practice and be as dedicated as I was before. On the housing survey I filled out before going to Spain, I said that it would be nice if I was in a home with a piano in it. And as it turned out, that’s exactly what happened!
The eldest brother in my host family who was 16 years old also was a pianist! He once played for me a piece he was practicing and it sounded really good! It was nice to share that common hobby with someone in my host family. My other host brother who was 14 years old played the violin. It was so fun hearing him play, hearing the sounds fill the house as it can be argued that the violin is not a quiet instrument. Between hearing music and playing piano on my own, it was like a home away from home.
I was classically trained; no other genre was expected of me as I grew up in a home with a music professor. I tried jazz for one summer but knew I would rather learn Debussy or Chopin. A lot of people don’t enjoy classical music, so I am thankful that from a young age I discovered the passion and intensity of classical compositions. The Disney movie Fantasia 2000 was very helpful in this process as famous compositions were accompanied with clever animations to create a visual story for the melodic themes.
Starting in middle school I began collecting music books of different musicals and of famous pop songs. As you can imagine, this meant stacks and stacks of music!! I did not learn these pieces in lessons, but in playing just for fun I became relatively good at sight-reading (being able to play something on the first go). Of course I wouldn’t play things perfectly, but it allowed me to access a larger world of music and change how I spent my time at the piano.
Why does it all matter? With my daily routine in quarantine I have been able to play piano again. My grandfather gave me his baby grand piano years ago and there is no piano I would rather play. I decided to make a video for my friends where I played “We’re All in This Together” from High School Musical. I ended the video saying I was thinking of them and that we are “all in this together.” They all responded back loving the video, touched that I thought of them. Within the craziness of everything happening, I can find peace and strength in music; and I wanted to share that with those closest to me. Even the simplest of things can bring us the most joy; this is why I am happy I have piano.
Naomi Roter, student blogger primavera 2020