#StudiousSeptember: The Finer Things in Life

30 Sep

Of the past 19 years one of my biggest regrets is not learning to play any instruments. I was put into t-ball when I was about seven and that was cool, but not as intellectually enriching as, say, playing the violin. Come high school, I once again missed opportunities to learn music and turned to basketball as my hobby of choice.

I don’t  regret playing t-ball or basketball, but I do regret not learning to play an instrument. My freshmen year of college, I took a human achievement in the arts class and I fell in love with music, specifically instrumental. The class got me thinking that it probably isn’t too late to learn how to play an instrument of my choice. My lack of extra time said otherwise, but come the summer, I took on a new skill with the help of my younger sister.

Music Animation animated GIF

If I had to pick a favorite instrument to listen to, I would definitely have to choose the cello. Some of my favorite classical pieces are Bach’s cello suites. But my sister had been taking piano lessons since freshmen year of high school, so she was improving a significant amount every week. I would hear her play and a mixed rush of pride (of course I am proud of her) and jealousy would come over me. After watching her play for weeks she came to me with the proposal that she would teach me how to play piano. The piano was not the cello, but I have an equal amount of respect for it. As you would imagine, I jumped at the chance to  develop my cultural integrity and accepted my sister’s proposal.

Piano animated GIF

The first thing she had to teach me was how the scale on the piano worked. I had briefly gone over scales and chords in the music class so that was not hard to adjust to. The song that I chose to learn is a little song called “The Song of Healing.” This song was from a game called The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. The song itself is beautiful so I really wanted to learn how to play it. In all honesty, learning how to play the song was not as bad as I thought. Once I learned how to read sheet music, and had a basic idea where any particular key was, the rest was pretty simple. The biggest learning tool for me was repetition. I would play a chord many, many times in a row to get fluid with it. Once I could get the chord out with as little flaws as possible, I would work on the tempo of the section I was learning.

Before I knew it, I could play the whole song. And it only took about a week of moderate practice. In the end, I was embarrassed that it had taken me so long to learn an instrument, but there is no better time like the present. I definitely see myself learning how to play cello in the future but for now the piano is a perfect way for me to get connected with the finer things in life.

-Andres

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