When I was younger I spent roughly 3 hours per day at the piano, from the age of seven till around seventeen years old. Being young, I just did what was asked of me: to make sure I revised and leart thoroughly what was taught to me in my pieces and technical exercises. I didn't think much about the value of the hours, months, years that would accumulate and contribute to my musical creativity and abstract thoughts later on.
Many ingredients come to play when learning an instrument. The teachers were there to show me the tools to use for crafting a particular sound.
Talent was required for the spark to allow the fire to expand. My parents to pave the ground and opportunities for me to explore this journey. But most importantly, I think, time was needed for these learnings to grow and mature as humanly as possible.
Now when I refer to time, I mean both time with the instrument, and time away from the instrument. Time at the instrument: meaning the practice and the endless need for self motivation
and discipline, during which fosters perseverance and strengthens the will power to keep going - even if this passage seems so difficult and technically impossible, and even if we couldn't play it properly yesterday - we keep trying again today. Time away from the instrument: to allow the wine of the music to settle, mature, for our minds to untangle the knots that naturally forms in response to life's challenges (including musical ones), to expand on the aromas between the notes and spaces between the lines of thoughts that shape who we are. These are the moments where we allow the flowers of music to bloom, just as we spend time to cultivate the soil for them to grow.
The older I become, the more I am aware of music's ability to express the inexpressible, to touch the human heart and minds in ways unimaginable. As Aldous Huxley once said, "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." I truly am blessed to have music in my life, which I hope to share with those around me.
- Natasha Lin