Why I Make Time To Play Piano Every Single Day As A College Student

I started to play piano when I was 7 years old. I always had a love for instruments and music, so my mom signed me up for weekly lessons. Every Wednesday afternoon was my favorite time of the week; I could go make cool sounds out of a "mega instrument," as I’d call it. In the beginning, I was only completing exercises and short segments of songs, so nothing complete. In time, I learned my first full song, and I was stoked. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star became my everything. I played it on my bedroom keyboard for hours on end, and even threw “concerts” for my parents on several occasions. Luckily for them, I played on a keyboard, not a grand piano stationed in the middle of the house, so I didn’t make their ears bleed entirely.

But as I got older and lessons became more intense, practice became more of a chore than a delight, or anything I looked forward to. I began to loathe those same Wednesday afternoons and beg my mom to cancel my lessons. I would complain days on end about how hard they were getting, and how small my teacher made me feel. The pieces I learned felt forced, nothing I enjoyed learning or performing. I even once recorded the entire lesson to play back later to my mom and prove how “mean” she was. Oh man, the mind of an eleven-year-old.

Eventually, I stopped lessons and began to learn on my own. And that was when my love for the piano absolutely skyrocketed.

I would look up You Tube tutorials and use the skills I had learned from my years of lessons to learn them quickly and personalize every piece. Eventually, I put away YouTube tutorials and shifted to learning by ear. I was able to hear songs or find their corresponding chords and play the song with my own taste. The opportunities were endless.

I found myself constantly sitting at the piano, losing track of time. I never loathed it, I never tried to avoid it. I would wake up in the morning and run to the piano, the one stationed in the middle of the house, and play away. I was able to play what I wanted with my personal touch. Again, sorry, Mom and Dad.

Coming to college, I was afraid I’d lose this one thing that brought me so much joy. It wasn't just a hobby, it became a necessity. I wasn’t sure there would be time to play, or if I would be able to access any instruments to use. I no longer would have a keyboard just a foot away from my bed, nor the time to even play like I had when living at home. But I was wrong. Yes, college is busy. But for what you truly care about, you can make time for. If you have time to scroll through Instagram or get distracted, you have time to do something that is worth your time, whether it be for 10 minutes or an hour.

Playing piano is my therapy. It calms me down. It makes me lose sight of all that is hectic or out of my control, and drills my mind into music. I am able to translate my emotions, feelings and ideas onto black and white keys. I am able to make something of myself. And that’s exactly what I do, every single day. Every day, at some point in between classes, I run to the Schoenberg Music Building. I take a peek in each classroom, find an empty one and run to the beautiful baby grand Yamaha sitting in the front. I log out of the real world and enter my musical fantasy. I am relieved of all stresses and distractions, thrown into my paradise. I make time every day for this because coming to understand the value of self care and mental health protection has turned my life around. Making time for what makes you happy is foundational for any medium of success. We sometimes fall short to the belief that “success gives happiness," but it’s the other way around. Happiness grants success. Happiness grants productivity. Happiness aligns you with what is truly important, taking care of yourself and devoting time to academics. 

Once I started to make time every single day to do this one thing that makes me happy, my stress was relieved. I have become the happiest I have ever been and am now more productive. I no longer struggle to get out of bed in the morning and am excited to take on each day. I have deepened my understanding of my purpose. I encourage you to find one thing that makes you ecstatic and make time for it every single day. Whether it be taking a walk on a certain trail or reading a chapter of your favorite book, make time for it and be consistent. Use discipline to build a habit that will be impossible to break. Your health and emotional stability are what will guide you to everything else you want to achieve. They come first.