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NICK S. - ESSAY 2

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I wrote the following essay as part of my application letter to the Steinway & Sons Young Artist Program.

May 22, 2008.

 

 

 

 

Why I Play the Piano

Many people will say that the reason they play the piano or any musical instrument is that it is an escape—a chance to relax and slow down. I do not know if I am playing a different type of piano than these people, because to me, the piano is not a relaxing instrument. On the contrary, playing the piano is the hardest thing I do each day. Playing Hanon and Czerny can make my fingers hurt and playing a Beethoven Sonata or Chopin Polonaise is anything but relaxing. So why do I enjoy playing the piano? I do it because it challenges me and gives me something to be passionate about. It gives me life, renews me, and allows me to connect to something bigger than the next math test or history paper. As poet Berthold Auerbach said, "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

In most of my schoolwork and after school activities, I do not need to work very hard to get good grades. I can sit in a class, absorb the information, take the test, and pass. I do not need to put any effort into anything. The only thing that requires passion and intense concentration for me is the piano. Without that, I would be like many of the countless people in the world just going through the motions. I would watch TV and maybe look at my notes from the day a little and fall asleep. However, where would my enrichment be? Where would I learn to connect emotionally to anything? I would become dead if I did not play the piano. It is hard to verbalize what playing an instrument does, but somehow, it keeps me alive. I know that and that is why I like playing.

My English teacher, complaining about the indifference of our generation, asked us to raise our hands if we were passionate about something. Few did, and most gave vague responses like “friends” or “television.” I, however, was able to raise my hand and say piano, and I am so fortunate I can. I do not drift off into another world when I play in a wave of euphoric pleasure when I play piano. Instead, I have a cornerstone that makes this world more vivid and wonderful.

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