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Art, Music, and My Piano

My life would not be the same without music. Without art.

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Art is a place just for me. Just me. I could draw anything, and it would be beautiful.

No one cares if I mess up or not, or if I did this wrong, or if I did that wrong.

It’s just me, perfecting this and that. I like it.

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Me, enjoying how colors mix together, then look like a sunset on a blank canvas. How you could create the ugliest color in the world. Then take a brush, scoop it up, and place it on that canvas. And it would still look beautiful.

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There are so many different forms of art.

Photography, fashion, architecture, design, paintings, sketches.

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All of them are different in each way, yet the same.

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When I was younger, I loved singing in the car. For me, it was fun. It wasn’t something mandatory. Not something that I was forced to do. It was simply pure fun.

When I was around four or five years old, I started playing the piano. I wasn’t some music prodigy or some talented child. Instead, I was a small five-year-old being told to do it, and so I did.

My first piano teacher gave me jelly beans when I played a piece. She had a whole box of them from Costco, with all types of flavors. I would always look forward to that day when she would award me with two or three of those jelly beans after class. But she didn’t motivate me in any way. She didn’t care if I practiced or not.

That’s why my mom decided that I needed to go to a different teacher.

Her name’s Grace. She has a lively temper but a strong, compassionate heart.

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She has two dogs and two children and three pianos. I don’t think she really liked me when I first came, but now she does.

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At least I think she does.

When I first started, we played Haydn. Now we do Bach, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Liszt, and some more Haydn.

I got my first piano with her.

It’s not a grand piano, it’s not a Steinway, it doesn’t cost a million dollars.

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It’s a simple upright Kawai, with heavy keys but a beautiful sound to it.

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There’s a framed picture of me at my first recital at Carnegie Hall when I was six, and a small pot with small pencils. They sit on a satin-like piece of cloth covering the piano, with tassels at the end that have long fallen off.

It’s not ancient, not brand new. It’s not cheap, it’s not expensive. It’s not the best, and it’s not the worst.

But it’s mine. No one else can touch it. No one in my family wants to touch it. They don’t know how.

They don’t understand how we take for granted how a key makes a beautiful melodious sound. They don’t recognize the beauty and splendor of having a piano that’s yours. The beauty of being able to play a complex piece on this instrument, and make it sound effortless.


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And that’s how it goes and goes.

Until you can’t go any higher or lower.

Claire Jiang
Claire Jiang, 12
Princeton, NJ