Words From A Pianist

by - August 30, 2015

When I play the piano for an / a group of audience, I would always receive very positive feedbacks from them regarding to my playing.

"You play so well!"

"That sounds so nice and very professional!"

"WOW! That must have taken you forever to master it! What grade are you now?"

and the list goes on....

It is nice and comforting to hear those words coming from other people. It really keeps me motivating in a way to never stop playing and improving my skills with playing the piano (although I don't go for classes anymore because I'm done with my Grade 8). But I will never know if those are truly words from their heart, or they are saying it because they are obligated to, or were they even being sarcastic. Whichever it is, as long as it makes me feel positive, then I will not complain.

Those who I actually took the time to explain to them about the levels after Grade 8, they would feel that it is such a waste that I never continued Diploma, or even further my tertiary education in music, instead of what I'm doing now. Especially those who refers me to as the "One Man Show" like my high school music teacher and friends, they would feel that it is a complete waste that I didn't go for music. The idea of it, and saying it is easy, but in my country, I don't think it's going to be easy to walk the talk.

I used to think about making music my career, but as I grow, I am glad that I never went ahead with that decision because loving at playing the piano, and loving music is two entirely different thing. You see, my passion is mainly on playing the piano. I hated theory, and I don't have much interest in studying about the history of music, or basically again, music theory. Furthering my studies in music isn't just about playing the piano. Well, maybe it is based on what a friend of mine told me but I don't think I would enjoy playing and practicing piano because I have to, to pass an exam or because I am required to.

What I am truly passionate about playing the piano, is to play freely and relaxingly, without having to follow any rule of thumb, but with my own style and way of playing it. In other words, I play it because I love it as a hobby, as an interest to pass my leisure time. On top of that, I hate practicing, especially when I am required to follow 100% of what is written on the music sheet. 

So, the more I think about the what if I went for music, the more I believe that I love and play the piano is because of my own interest. Besides, one can always self learn and improve like what I'm doing. With the internet today, nothing is impossible. 


If you are someone who is really keen on trying out the piano, then I would strongly recommend you to go for piano classes. At least let the teacher to start you of the right way, the right technic. Then you will have no trouble of correcting whatever that you have been doing it wrong in the future. When I said it is possible to self learn, well, it is. It's just, going for classes would ensure you that you're doing it correctly and once you have the basics of what you need to know, then you're good to go on your own. 

When it comes to choosing a piano class, I don't believe in the more expensive it is, the better the quality of teaching. You can go to a music school which cost you RM500 per month, which maybe even has a well known name to it which I would call it 'branding', without your own will to practice, you will not see the progress. It doesn't matter which music school you go to - it could be of a mansion, or just a tiny centre above some shophouses, most importantly, you have the will to learn and to practice and you will go far.


Exams isn't something too necessary for you to take if you do attend music classes but I always have the thought of, since I have already learnt so much, and came this far, why not I just go for it and get myself a certificate? It may come in handy in the future. 

At the age of 13, I took violin lessons as well and went for a Grade 3 examination. After that, I continued on Grade 4 but I didn't took any exams anymore. The reason why I didn't continue my violin shortly after, was because I knew that my main focus was to play the piano and violin was just an extra, and that exam was unplanned for. To my surprise, I even got a distinction for that grade 3 exam. Since violin was just another side instrument that I wanted to learn, and I have already know all my basics, I stopped taking classes and exams and practice on my own ever since, and have my focus fully on piano.

So, to take an exam or not, is very subjective. To me, violin wasn't as important and passionate to me as compared to the piano. So, do allocate weights on what's really important and then make a decision on the exams. Also, taking an exam isn't cheap. 

Theory & Practical

I am not sure how many people are unaware of this, but attending classes isn't just about playing an instrument, which is the practical part. There is also another part of the lesson which is known as theory.

I hated theory a lot and I completed only until Grade 5 because Grade 6 was too tough for me and I gave up half way. Although I hated it, but it actually helped me a lot to understand a lot on why a certain thing is played in a certain way.

For example, when you see a Music dynamic forte.svg on the music score, you will only know the explanation to it based on the theory part. I mean, I am sure that even if you don't take theory, your teacher will have to somehow explain it to you anyway, but I was just trying to give an example. Still, there's no harm if you take only the practical but to me, I would strongly recommend you to take theory as well, at least up till Grade 5 because it really helped me a lot.

All of my advise I have written above may be 100% useless, or it may not be agreeable to many musicians out there, but these are just my two cents. Also, don't let what I have said but you didn't do be a factor of why you think that you can't do a certain thing in a certain way. Everyone has their own style of doing something, and it applies the same way when it comes to playing the piano. You don't have to follow exactly how a song is suppose to play. Play it with your own style, and that is why sometimes, we learn how to improvise. That's basically me, I improvise and I hate following of what I am expected to play.

You can ignore everything I have said above, or even treat them as rubbish that you have just wasted the last 10 minutes reading on it, but there is one thing that I would like to remind all of you out there.

Most importantly,

Let it come from your heart.

Don't do it because someone forces you to, because you really want it. Music is beyond beautiful, and don't let anyone ruin your perspective of music because you were once forced to.

It was almost an unbelievable experience for myself when I was presented this award. I never expected to receive this award. All I did was just do my best, and played from my heart.

That moment when you finally get to tell yourself, You've did it!

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