Why learn to play an instrument?
I began playing the piano when I was about 7 years old – my parents sent me to piano lessons (a fairly common thing), which I enjoyed at the start. However, the ‘having to sit down and practice’ soon became very tedious and the novelty wore off, as is so often the case! My parents insisted that I continued, so many a battle was had, as I reluctantly sat at the piano and tried to practise.
How glad am I now that they did insist I continued! I quickly realised that this was to be a passion of mine; an avenue in which I could communicate my emotions, an area of school that I could be part of, almost like a ‘club’. I had several teachers, some great, so not so. I sat ABRSM grades (on a bit of a conveyor belt in some cases) and succeeded in passing grade 8 whilst under the careful guidance of my music teacher at school. He inspired me and enabled me to really explore what the piano meant to me. I quickly realised that this was to be a life-long skill; something that I wanted to do more with.
My love of music grew and I decided to study it at degree level at Bretton Hall School of Performing Arts (imagine the 1980s ‘Fame’ series!). Piano was my main instrument, with the clarinet being my second. I also studied contemporary dance complete with leotards and legwarmers!
From being about 17 years old, I decided that I wanted to pass on this passion I had, so started to teach the piano to a couple of younger girls from my school. The enjoyment I got from seeing them flourish was priceless and so my journey as a piano teacher started. To this day, I have always taught; absolute beginners, more advanced players, very young children through to adults. My main aim is always to promote a sense of fun and enjoyment in my lessons, to pass on a skill and to enable others to really feel that passion in the pit of their stomachs.
So, why learn to play an instrument? Well, I think it allows us to be ourselves, to communicate emotions that perhaps are difficult to communicate in other ways and mostly, to have lots of fun!