October 30, 2015

Why I Am "Quitting" Piano

Written earlier this year:

If you know me well, you'd know that I play piano and have been playing piano for the past 12 years of my life. By no means am I a prodigy of any kind, I'm actually just an average piano player who has been learning for a long time! The January of 2013, I took my practical exam for Performer's ARCT and I passed. Not by much, but still, I passed. This was the first time I encountered the predicament of whether I wanted to continue with my lessons or quit, as I had already attained the certificate required to teach others. When it became clear to my piano teacher that I was slightly hesitant to continue, it most likely became a dinner table conversation at her house because the next week I went to her studio, her husband approached me on the topic. In the end, I decided that I would continue with piano thinking: "I've been learning for so long, why stop now? There's only LRCM left and I'm so close, why would I give up now and waste all the years I've spent up until now?"

A few weeks ago, under a ton of stress from school and other personal problems, I finally broke down. My piano teacher was scheduling me for a bunch of classes during weekdays because I had an Advanced Harmony exam coming up, and it was just putting so much stress on me. For the past few months, I have just felt like my entire life is being constricted into time slots that I have to follow to avoid a complete landslide of... everything. It began as a casual conversation with my mom before I started realizing how stressed out I was and I could NOT stop crying.

Present Day Thoughts:

I've held out on posting this because I just couldn't find the right words to say; I didn't know how to explain myself. I was scared that people would criticize me for wasting my parents money, but I know that that is far from the truth. They have given me a gift that is extremely valuable: music.

On Sunday, October 25, 2015, my family and I drove down to Calgary and arrived at the Taylor Centre of Performing Arts at Mount Royal University. It was a beautiful building with floor to ceiling windows and wooden panelled walls. I was there to receive my certificate for ARCT after having successfully completed my Counterpoint and History exams over the summer. It was such a surreal moment receiving my diploma because I had never planned on coming this far, but there I was, on stage, shaking hands with the President and CEO of The Royal Conservatory of Music.

However, at the same moment, there was a feeling of closure - a perfect ending of sorts. Music has, and always will be a big part of my life, but the time to quit my lessons has arrived. In my opinion, everything will always come to an end, which isn't a bad thing! Sitting in the audience with the rest of the graduates and Regional Gold Award winners brought me to the realization of how extremely fortunate I am to have received a musical education. But, it is time for an "ending". 

I have achieved far more than what I expected from myself. By no means am I quitting piano for good, I'm just no longer attending lessons. It has gotten to the point where playing piano is stressing me out, and I need a break from it. Maybe I'll continue lessons later, maybe not. This decision wasn't just made on a whim; as you can see, it took several months. But I am sure that this is the right decision.

Throughout my 12 years of piano lessons, I've learned more than piano. I learned what it means to be committed to something; I learned to teach theory to others; I learned to persevere and keep practicing even when it seems like it's going nowhere. The list is endless, and for that, I thank The Royal Conservatory of Music, my parents, and of course, my piano teacher, Thank you so much.

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