In the last few weeks as my final year of university gradually wound to a close with the inevitable stress of exam season, I found myself drawn to music more than ever. Anyone who follows me on my Twitter and Instagram will have noticed that my revision breaks were filled with a newfound appreciation for playing the piano; something I have neglected for far too long.
When I was a child, I remember being incredibly excited by the prospect of learning how to play the piano. I longingly watched both of my older sisters attend piano lessons whilst impatiently dreaming of the day when I would be old enough to join them. Eventually, my mother booked lessons for me and I enthusiastically began my musical adventure, accomplishing 6 ABRSM grades before ending my tuition in 2012. After this, I am ashamed to say that I rarely dedicated any of my time to the instrument. At first I avoided playing because I had started to see it as a chore (from the endless hours of practice for exams) rather than something enjoyable. Then, in 2014 I was accepted into university and I have spent the majority of the last three years since then living in a student property without a piano to play. However, I think it was this break from music that’s made getting back into it all the more special.
Above all else, I think the most important factor in learning a musical instrument is to enjoy it. If you’re practising for an exam and you’re getting worn down by the often dreary pieces of music that you are required to perform, make sure you set aside some time to play something you actually enjoy. I have and always will love Ludovico Einaudi’s music. His pieces come in a variety of difficulties, but they are incredibly beautiful and I have found that they are usually relatively easy to pick up with some practice. My current favourites are Password and Le Onde. Alongside Einaudi, in the last week or so I have developed a new interest in Beethoven’s Für Elise. I used to hate this piece because I was driven slightly mad in school by children who would play the first few bars of the song on an incessant loop whenever there was a piano or keyboard in the room. However, I have now warmed to Für Elise and discovered that it has a particularly beautiful (but very tricky) middle passage which I am determined to master.
Although I was
a little very rusty at reading sheet music when I first sat down the other day (seriously, it took me a good few minutes to work out that the note I was intently staring at on the bass clef stave was in fact an F), I can now confidently say that music is something that never leaves you, regardless of how much time you spend away from it. It has been wonderful to rekindle my love for playing the piano and I realise now more than ever that I am incredibly lucky to have music as such an irreplaceable part of my life. I am insanely thankful to my mum and dad for paying for my tuition when I was younger and giving me the opportunity to develop a skill which now brings so much happiness to my life.
Over the next few months, I think I will go on the hunt for a collection of Yann Tiersen’s work; I fell in love with his music whilst studying Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (or Amélie outside France) in college and I have wanted to learn Comptine d’un Autre Été ever since. Do you play a musical instrument and have any particular composers or pieces that you would recommend? I’d love to hear your suggestions!
Lots of love, Alissa