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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Why I Play the Piano

This thoughtful essay on playing the piano was written by Julie Kozhukhin, an excellent piano player and a dear friend.

Why do I play piano? I ask myself this question sometimes. Why do I spend a considerable amount of time to learn a piece, to work on a tough passage, to improve my staccatos and legatos, to find the best fingering, to finesse my arpeggios? I will never perform on stage; even my family does not show much interest in listening to my playing. I have a good sound system at home (thanks, pandemic!) so I can listen to any great pianist perform any great piece of music at any time I want! And still I want to play. What drives me to do it? Maybe it’s the nostalgia for my younger self, 14 years old, fast fingers, good memory, school concerts? It was so much easier to learn a difficult piece then…

Or maybe it’s the desire to create? Of course I don’t really “create” the music I play, that is,

I didn’t write it. But a music player always creates a composition anew every time she plays it. And every time it is slightly different. Or very different. I want to participate in this endless creation, to improve the result, to make my heart sing and ache not only because the music itself is beautiful, but also because I brought that beauty to life. Not perfectly, not as masterfully as a great pianist would, but it is “mine” nevertheless.

And so I keep practicing, keep learning, keep creating. Even if it is for myself only.

If you have something that you would like to share, please be in touch with me!

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