I learnt how to play the piano since i was 4, and the viola when i was 13. Music has really taken up almost my whole life, as I continue to pursue it at the undergraduate level. I actually always wanted to be a medical doctor rushing in the A&E and saving lives. The occupation i detested and despised most was the role of an educator. Never would I have imagined that decades later, I would actually take up a government scholarship to be a music teacher in a high school.
The journey to become a professional musician is wrought with many hardships. I had to uproot myself from the country I grew up in and move to the UK, where I spent many days and nights alone. I pondered much about music in the past year, and even doubted my ability in excelling in it. I would say the hardest course I took in my first year in university is Musicology.
I never understood why I had to read up on Haydn’s pay at the Esterhazy court, McClary’s feminist views on works, Ingrid Monson’s (hope I remembered her name correctly) experiences as a musician etc.
I only gained what I would call ‘The Enlightenment’ right before the Musicology paper, and i only studied for that paper a couple of days before the examination.
The piano has been to me an integral part of my life. I cannot just divorce it. My ears tend to judge a pianist straight away when I pass by buskers or just anyone who happens to play in front of me. In the practice rooms in school, I enjoy the privacy behind the closed doors with the sign “Engaged” , so that no one would judge me per se for my terrible sight-reading or my habit in striking the piano harshly. Apparently, I can be heard two floors down.
While I ironically do not like to listen to keyboard works (I prefer to listen to symphonies and concertos), I do love to play the piano. However, I am such a lazy pianist I have to drag myself to the piano when I’m learning a new work.
On another note, despite many who look down on the Viola (well, there IS a hierarchy in the orchestra), I find its tone rather pleasing. Because of its intermediate range between that of a violin’s and cello’s, I realise it laments and cries with my inner soul.
When I’m sad, I love to play the viola. Its range from the bass clef to the treble makes it a versatile instrument whose voice is so much richer than the violin’s.
Music reaches to the inner depths of my soul and I know I can identify with it. Actually, anyone can identify with music. Just choose a genre you love and listen intently for the nuances.