Like many people, I have always loved music, both listening to it and playing it. My music taste ranges from some classical to hardstyle music, both with and without vocals. But since two years ago my interest in piano music has gradually been growing and around a year ago I decided to purchase a keyboard piano, because I wanted to be able to play the piano music I often listened to. This ambition reminded me of almost exactly the same situation I was in a number of years ago. I heard someone play a very nice violin song and I decided that I wanted to play the violin as well. So I started taking violin lessons, which I did for a few years. Though, quite quickly after I started taking the violin lessons I found out that it was not as much fun as I had expected it to be. A few years later I realized that the reason for this was that the lessons felt more like a chore than a hobby, because the lessons were scheduled and I was expected to learn to play the violin at a certain pace, as my parents were paying for the lessons and teachers often want their pupils to learn things as fast as possible. This made me conclude that if I would ever start playing a musical instrument again, I would have to make sure it feels like a passion, rather than a chore. Otherwise, I will not want to carry it through. Therefore, when I was thinking of learning to play the piano, I decided that, instead of taking piano lessons, I would teach it to myself by watching piano tutorials on You-Tube.
So far, that has been a very good decision. I have learned to play songs of several different genres of piano music, such as piano covers (e.g. All of me ~ John Legend), new-age (e.g. River flows in you ~ Yiruma), postmodern (e.g. Amélie: comptine d’un autre été: l’après-midi ~ Yann Tiersen) and contemporary classical music (e.g. Nuvole Bianche ~ Ludovico Einaudi). The first song I learned was the new-age song River flows in you by Yiruma. A Dutch friend of mine who also plays the piano recommended me to first learn some other songs, as River flows in you is considered to be rather challenging. Though, River flows in you was (and still is) my favorite piano song and I didn’t mind a challenge. As often as possible, I also try to play a piano duet with friends of mine who play the piano, too. When I still lived in the Netherlands I would sometimes stay after school to play songs on the school piano with some friends. Another experience that I will never forget is that when I was back in the Netherlands over the summer, I played Amélie: comptine d’un autre été: l’après-midi on the public piano in the main hall of the Utrecht Central Station with a Dutch friend of mine. Some people actually stopped walking to watch us play the song, which felt like an enormous compliment. Occasionally, I compose some short melodies as well, because I enjoy trying out new combinations of notes.
For me, playing the piano and listening to piano music has many benefits. I often listen to piano music when I have trouble falling asleep, as it helps me relax. Listening piano music also helps me focus when I am doing homework or something else where I need to focus; while writing this reflection I am actually listening to the You-Tube piano music playlist ‘The best of Yiruma’ and because it helps me focus. When I need to take a break from studying I sometimes play the piano, because it is relaxing and I am actually improving my piano skills while taking a break, so the time is not lost. For me, playing the piano can also be a way to interact with my friends, for instance when I stayed after school to play the piano with my Dutch friends. Last, but most certainly not at all the least important: playing the piano is simply a lot of fun!