Over the course of studying for finals, I’ve come to find the lobby of the Whalen Music school to be the perfect place for me. It’s got a nice, peaceful atmosphere, one that’s ideal for studying, but it also doesn’t make me feel claustrophobic like the library does (I usually only go to the library for some hardcore studying). I think part of it is that the music school provides a sense of atmosphere that I have unfortunately grown out of but do miss dearly. Sometimes I eavesdrop on other students’ study sessions, and inside I feel ten times more sophisticated. Thinking back, I started my musical journey at the age of 3. Tiny little ole’ me, sittin’ on the piano bench, my feet never quite reaching the floor, nevermind the pedal. Not to be prideful, but when I was young, I was quite the piano prodigy. I remember playing pieces that my 11 year old brother would play only weeks after him, and these weren’t little “piano practice” pieces. I don’t remember the names of them, but they were certainly something impressive for a five year old to be mastering. Then when I was 6, my piano teacher signed me up for my first competition. I remember practicing the piece for roughly 2 months, and learning to perfect it. I really don’t remember feeling anxious at all throughout the preparation process. Ultimately, my teacher pulled me out a week before for fear of the stage pressure overwhelming me. But to be honest, I didn’t feel like that at all, neither was I disappointed about the lost opportunity. All I remember thinking was, “Oh, cool. Well I guess I can play a different piece now”.
To say the least, I’ve grown to impress a good amount of peers and adults alike. And then when I was in third grade, I decided to take after my best friend and started learning violin. Long story short, I pursued each of these things for a lengthy amount of time, but unfortunately over time, the practices became a chore for me, and I lost a certain desire to continue mastering the art. Looking back, often times I’d wonder what happened to that little girl. The one who people chuckle at when she walks up with the song book practically half her size, and then proceeds to sit on the piano bench, feet hanging in the air, and hands reaching just close enough to hit the crystal black and white keys. Due to the classical training background, my brother and I have come to appreciate the way it shaped our musical tastes and understanding. We hear certain things that an untrained ear doesn’t, but we’re not as keen with them as music students are. Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that we both love to listen to and play music. Sometimes I just wish that I never put those instruments down or paused the learning process. Each time I pick them up, my fingers are reminded of why I chose them in the first place. Every year, I find myself vowing to pick up each instrument again and practicing them regularly, but my level of expertise never quite able to return to what it once was.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that I love just being in the music school, because often times it’s where I would imagine myself to be in an alternate life. Being in Whalen, I feel completed; like that missing side of me has finally come home.