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Playing from the Heart

Megan Foster is a junior at Greer Middle College. In addition to being an enthusiastic and involved student, Megan is also very skilled at playing the piano. Earlier last week, I took the liberty of emailing Megan some questions about her lifelong hobby. She responded with the statements below.

What instruments do you play?

“I play the piano, that's it.” She has done so for 11 years!

What was the most challenging part of learning to play these instrument(s)?

“The most challenging part is not only to play with technique, but also with expression. Music is emotional and has meaning, so making technical spots sound effortless and supporting to the meaning of the music is definitely the most challenging part for me.”

What are some advantages to knowing how to play an instrument?

“Some advantages of playing piano are that I am stretching myself physically and mentally. I am required at this point to practice about [two] hours every day, and it is honestly a challenge when I am tired, bored, unmotivated, or I have a ton of homework. My hands get tired too after repeating a run or tricky section I am trying to learn and my forearms actually hurt. The mental challenge is scientifically shown to help left and right brain skills and I definitely feel challenged when trying to sight read or even just learn a new piece of music. Also, the pressure of playing for people has helped me be more comfortable giving presentations for school. The best advantage for me though is that I get to share music with other people. Music is a universal language that can speak to anyone, and there is power in that. I get to play for my church and some community events and I am actually participating in a national high school competition this week!”

How does playing an instrument influence your life?

“These opportunities really help me grow as a person and performer because it takes maturity to dig past the nerves and realize the amazing opportunity you have to share music with other people. I have had to step out of my comfort zone a lot to play for judges and even just audiences in general and it really makes you step up your game. The pressure of having people hear me play and the adrenaline I get from being nervous often and kind of strangely makes me actually play better than when I don't have an audience. I used to be terrified to even play for my mom when she asked me to in our living room at home, but now I have played in front of people enough that I can almost be comfortable with it. Once I get comfortable on the piano, I mostly forget about the people and just play. Especially when I do special music for church, I really want the message of the hymn to be prevalent with the listeners, so I really try to block out everything but the message of the song and play from my heart.”