Music has always been a part of my life. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been singing, playing instruments, or just humming to myself throughout the day. I started taking music lessons as soon as I could (the University of Utah has a music program for kids, ages 5+), and soon began taking piano lessons, specifically. I played the violin for a year in elementary school, then switched to the cello for a couple years, because my best friend played the cello; I continued playing the piano throughout this period. I eventually gave up the cello because middle school was starting to kill my free time, and so I was left with piano, my first and favorite instrument.
I switched piano teachers in high school, because my original teacher, Betsy Nagel, decided to go on a mission with her husband to Africa. On Betsy’s recommendation, I ended up with a wonderful independent teacher named Kathryn Culbertson. I continued learning from Kathryn throughout high school, and I think that period was the most rewarding for me as a musician, because I had the freedom to play pieces that I enjoyed, while still being challenged technically and personally. My lessons with Kathryn culminated in a solo piano recital the summer after my high school graduation, where I played five original arrangements that I had been working on for the past two years. Creating those arrangements and preparing for the recital was my favorite thing about learning with Kathryn, and I will treasure those memories for the rest of my life.
I had to give up the piano as I started attending college, partly because most of Kathryn’s students move on after high school, but mostly because I simply don’t have the time anymore. I’m taking classes full time at the University of Utah, and I have two part-time jobs (one is only 5-6 hrs/week, but the other is 15-20 hrs/week). Between school (especially being in the Honors College) and my jobs, I barely (read: don’t) have enough time for myself, let alone for an instrument. And the worst part is that I don’t have a piano or keyboard in my dorm room. If I did, it wouldn’t be too hard to sit down for a few minutes here and there. However, the only pianos available are in music rooms at the Peterson Heritage Center, which is a couple minutes’ walk away from my dorm. The mere fact that getting to a piano requires me to leave my room makes practicing much harder.
I’m hopeful that I can take advantage of the upcoming summer to start playing again, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to practice with a teacher, or just be playing on my own.