Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud, and how does it relate to the person you are?
There was a gleam and bright blue spark in my teacher’s eyes as she taught piano. The young student looked at her in excited amazement, a smile spreading across her face, like the smile of a mother seeing her newborn baby for the first time. This was my first glimpse of a piano lesson that was not my own, and watching it awakened a desire to teach other children music.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved music. I always had the urge to learn piano but never had the opportunity until my current teacher, Erin, offered me free lessons: my low-income family never had enough money to pay for these lessons before Erin entered my life. I remember watching televised concert hall performances, musicians who poured their entire beings into their instruments, and wishing I could be like them. When Erin finally gave me the incredible opportunity to start taking piano lessons with her a few years ago, my life changed.
In addition to offering me piano lessons, Erin allowed me to serve as a music practice coach for her younger students once a week. It was amusing to see the students play, to earnestly turn their faults into successes, and I was privileged to have the chance to guide them through the world of music and help them improve. Hearing each student touch the ivory keys and make steady progress brought me tremendous joy. Beyond the most important techniques, I tried to teach them to play with their hearts and express through music the emotions that words cannot always convey.
Although most of these students came from a much more privileged background than mine, we were still able to bond through our love for music. However, as an assistant teacher in Erin’s studio, I also came to the realization that more kids from low-income communities deserved the same amazing gift that I had received — free piano lessons. Any child, despite family circumstances and socio-economic status, should have the chance to pursue the remarkable phenomenon of music.
My first encounter with my piano teacher was more than just a lesson: it was a realization that one of my primary ambitions in life is to help other kids access the form of expression that I so value. Since that day, and in my subsequent internship teaching music at Erin’s studio, I have been determined to sharpen my skills as both a musician and teacher and to pursue a career teaching music. College is a key to this goal, and a means of reaffirming, every day, my dedication to the piano and its illuminating power.