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2013 Senior and Alumni Reflection


Hans He 

I still remember Mrs. Juliana assigning me Chopin’s Scherzo No. 2 in B flat Minor. At the time I was decent at piano, but nothing I played inspired me. “How could people play piano for fun?” I asked myself. Mrs. Juliana must have sensed my lack of motivation for piano, for she quickly assigned me Chopin’s Scherzo. “Try to play the first five pages of it at home.”


What hooked me into the Scherzo were the first two lines. It opened with a pair of quiet triplets that were answered by a powerful striking of octave chords. The back and forth between the chords and triplets was irresistible to play. Soon I moved into the con anima section. As my left hand rolled through huge staggered chords my right hand sung a touching melody. As I played I began singing the melody in my head, planning how I would strike the following chords. Through five years of playing I had never sung the melody in my head while playing before. Then the fast arpeggio section came, and my fingers stalled because of the difficulty. The Scherzo had it all: challenge, beautiful melodies, and grand moments. It was a piece worth practicing.


After completing the Scherzo I became immersed in classical music. I started finding and playing music on my own, as piano was no longer a chore, but a hobby and a passion. How could piano not be fun?


I began looking forward to every piano lesson, seeing what more there was to play. Mrs. Juliana introduced me to all kinds of music, letting me develop my own taste. Along the way she challenged me with more difficult pieces to develop my technique, musicianship, and love for music.


The only way to get better at piano is to practice, but without any passion for the music practice is almost impossible. When I was younger, playing piano for more than one hour would have been similar to suicide. Now I wouldn’t mind playing for three hours straight. As I go on in life I know that piano is a skill that will be invaluable to me. Without piano, a whole dimension of me will have disappeared, and my life would never be as fulfilling as it is now.

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