Growing up, I took music lessons for various instruments, but, as mentioned in a previous post, the piano was the one I fell in love with. For me, going to lessons, taking exams, performing, become more of a passion and something I always looked forward to, instead of it being just a hobby or an errand. I had started learning to play since the age of around 9 or 10, and had my last lesson when I was 13, whilst selecting my options for GCSEs. My reason for not taking lessons any further is simple: complications with my piano teacher. But looking back, I regret not continuing with lessons, because, honestly, I miss that feeling.
Regardless, I carried on playing the piano continuously, for the next two years, having chosen to do GCSE Music. It became more or less an obsession. I’d be in the music room nearly everyday of the week, practicing (and subsequently, forgetting to each my lunch). I got through the two years by lying to my music teacher and telling her that I was still taking lessons elsewhere, but the piano managed to help me get a grade I was proud of, at the end of the two years.
Then it stopped.
Sixth form had started and I wasn’t playing the piano as much anymore. And no, time wasn’t an issue either. During GCSEs and definitely during sixth form, I had always felt like most of those around me were discouraging me from playing, due to another, more skilled peer. I was never jealous of this friend and never looked down on her, because honestly, what she had was a gift, and I always looked to her for inspiration. However, most of the times, those around me preferred that I wasn’t heard.
I know you don’t need a reason to play the piano, and I only managed to get through GCSE music due to a little bit of self-confidence. But, due to the reasons stated above and others, I started losing faith in myself and faith in my talents. Most people who knew me then probably don’t know this but dancing, singing, playing instruments.. it always took a lot of effort for me to do such things in front of other people (and there are a group of 5 girls who I need to thank for helping me become more confident about dancing, mainly, by the end of high school**). I’m sure this is a feeling others have experienced too, but when you lack faith, even the smallest of tasks seems impossible. Not only did I give up on playing, but I gave up on hope on a childhood dream of finishing all my grades and playing professionally, or teaching.
So, now, here comes the bit about the promise.
One friend. Just one person, who has told me countless times, that I need to start playing. One person who hasn’t even heard me play, but believed I just needed an opportunity. One friend who, I’m sure, is capable of making me practice more than any piano teacher could. One friend who is willing to go on this journey with me. Instead of it being about this person inspiring me, it was more like this person reminded me and showed me what I had been missing out on. And they remind me every week without fail. Even this weekend, I was told to go home, practice and not come back without practicing. To this friend, to my mum and to myself, I promised that I would take lessons again, in order to start playing properly again and reach out for my lost dream.
I know you don’t need a reason to play an instrument, but right now, I feel like I’ve found a reason that’s definitely worth playing for and a reason that will stop me from giving up again. Giving up has always been my biggest regret, but now it’s time to put an end to that.
**Coffee Group, you girls are awesome. You know who you are.