At first, playing music for me was a way to get out of having to play sports. I was no good at any sport and couldn’t seem to really get along that well with the other kids in the neighborhood as a result, so being able to disappear into the sound of the piano allowed me to feel connected and to feel like I could do something well when I was very young. I started when I was five, at the behest of my grandmother who somehow knew there was a great potential in my learning how to play that instrument. I had a teacher who would come to the house once a week and show me, slowly, how to read music. I did that for four or five years before I started to hear things and pull parts and chords out from my favorite songs as I tried to play along. Once I started to come up with my own little melodies and began to create something independent of someone else’s written score, I was completely hooked and forever sent down a road, which I am still to this day traveling on.
Of course, it wasn’t until much later that I realized how much girls really love musicians. I don’t think that’s such a bad motivator, however, in the beginning it was more about wanting to belong and to be able to speak in a very unique way that made me stay with it. Once I felt the strength that comes from being able to do something very well, I was able to say things and communicate with my instrument in a way that so many people could appreciate and enjoy, even if they couldn’t fully understand.
Music is one of the only languages that does not require complete understanding in order to gather deep meaning from it. We can all be moved to tears or laughter or excitement or exaltation from listening to a piece of music that may be completely unintelligible to us on the page, but as it is played and sent through the air, our hearts begin to translate that foreign language into a kind of poetry that we can all understand. I feel so blessed and empowered by my own ability to speak in this way. Every young child should be so lucky as to have the opportunity to learn such an ancient, magical and poetic skill.