What is your single most important extracurricular/volunteer activity and why?
I have always considered my self-employment as a private piano teacher to be my single greatest contribution, not only to my students but to myself. I began giving lessons as a freshman, after several family friends expressed interest in having their children study with me. I admittedly did not know much about what I was getting into – but since I loved music, and I loved these kids, I decided that I would begin to teach them.As my students – three at first, then four, then five – began to grow and progress musically, I found that my own musical progress was also flourishing. The concepts which I was instilling in these children were also being enforced in my mind. When I played short pieces for my students and challenged them to describe the moods and emotions they elicited, I found myself similarly challenged to reflect on the composer’s intentions through choice of key, tempo, phrasing, and dynamics. As each student climbed up on the bench and stared in wonder at the inner workings of my piano, I was reminded to take into account the mechanics of the piano sound and use them to my advantage while playing. As my budding music readers scanned the pages of Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata looking for notes marked with sharps and flats, I remembered that it is never too early to familiarize oneself with the great works of musical literature – then it will be much less overwhelming when it comes time to study them in-depth. And as I saw the joy of playing music shining in their eyes and in their performances, I knew why I had begun to study music in the first place. I had to share this joy with anyone and everyone who would accept it. For these reasons – and many more – I will always consider my position as a piano teacher my most important and cherished activity.