I first began piano lessons when I was 5 years old. I originally started because my sister played and I wanted to as well. As time went on, piano became difficult; less of an enjoyment and more of a chore. Despite my distaste for piano, my parents encouraged me and I continued lessons. However, my aversion to piano was indeed temporary and when I was 12 years old, I began to truly love playing.
Since then I have played in churches for offering and special music, as well as accompanying others as they sing. I have also had the privilege of attending Bob Jones' Music Camp the past two years and am planning to attend this summer for my last time as a graduated senior.
I have had three piano teachers since I began taking lessons and I am very thankful for each one as they have each played a major role in my music education. This last year I have had the honor of not only being a student myself, but to have students of my own.
My first student, age 8, officially beginning in September 2017. But I like to think she truly became my student the summer of 2016 when she started coming to my house, asking question after question-- wondering how people could make music by looking at lines and circles on a page.
My second student is 71 and began this Spring. He started with a good knowledge of the staff and has greatly improved in his familiarity with the keyboard and keeping rhythm.
This summer, though my young student has moved away, I have taken on another student, with the possibility of two more and adding another this Fall. It's true that you don't really understand something until you can teach it. Teaching piano has forced me to truly know what I am doing and learn more, rather than just "going with the flow."
For me, music isn't just something I make when I sit down at a piano, it's everywhere! It's the patter of feet when I take kids on a walk. It's boiling water on the stove when cooking a meal. It's even the sweet silence when I sit alone in the woods. Music has been a crucial part of my life and God has often used it to grow me closer to Himself. I trust He has used music in a special way in your life as well.
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My God has blessed me through music.
The theme I choose for my Senior Piano Recital was “Transitions.” Because of the nature of my repertoire, it just fit. For example, in “Avalanche” by Stephen Heller, the transition went back and forth between piano and forte, coming to a climax of fortissimo and suddenly dropping to pianissimo. The duet I played with my 8 year old student was filled with more tangible transitions as we swapped places between two pianos during the piece. The congregational hymn I chose to play was “When We All Get To Heaven” and what a magnificent transition that will be-- when we leave this world to abide with Jesus forever! My final piece was “Christ Arose” and the lyrics speak of Jesus miraculously transitioning from death to life, giving us the reason why we can have hope through all the transitions we face.
Every piece I chose for my recital followed this theme of transition. However, God had another reason in mind when He nudged me to chose this theme. This summer will be, and already has been, full of transitions. My sister is working in another state for the whole summer; which is a rather large transition as I am used to having her around. My neighbors, which includes Evelyn my first piano student, have moved out of state. My piano teacher will no longer be working at the college and therefore, I can no longer look forward to taking a college class from him this fall. I am also working three part-time jobs throughout the summer (caregiver, custodian, and piano teacher), meaning I’ll have to start the tedious journey of filing taxes. I just returned home after leaving the country for the first time in my life; it was the longest and farthest from home I had been without my family (but it was still wonderful!!). And at the end of the summer, college begins.
All of these transitions, yet I can not help but see how God has worked through music in my life! I made the decision to trust Jesus as my Savior when I was four, and that Fall I started taking piano lessons. It was astonishing to me when I realized piano, and therefore music, has been with me almost my entire Christian life! Through transitions of all sizes, I have had the privilege of having a special place where I can go to meet with my Father: the piano. Some days I play with excitement, others I play with sorrow. Through happiness, sadness, hurt, anger, my God has been with me.
My God has truly blessed me through music.
Keep Smiling Every Day,
Marie Cloud :)
God has given me a love for people and a passion to write. I love that the sky shows the creativity of our loving Maker, don't you? I hope you will join me on this journey through life exploring the beautiful creation God has made and the lessons that He is teaching me through it all.