From the Sports to the Piano Bench

Paige Lesko, Print Editor

Ms. Surden’s Piano Lab Class is home to a diverse group of students and attracts students from all walks of life. From the sports bench, to the pottery wheel and the computer desk, students are attracted to the program’s inclusive and challenging aire. One of these students happens to be junior, Nate Clair.

Nate was the star kicker with a Wildcat Football jersey on in the Fall, but now he is sporting some headphones.

“I took piano lab this year because I really just wanted to learn how to play piano,” Clair said.

Throughout the semester, Clair and his peers have been preparing for the piano recital at the end of the course. This was a reality for Clair especially since his background in music isn’t too large. “I have zero background in piano and in anything musical at all, but I’ve always been kind of interested in piano,” Clair said. “Music was an off and on interest for me until things really clicked for me last year.”

With many friends in the spring production of Titanic, Clair constantly heard about positive and exciting experiences that were happening in the music department such as participating in the fall play, spring musical, and the winter cabaret. He finally decided to try something new in hopes of experiencing the same, valuable opportunities as his friends. However, Clair couldn’t just walk into a rehearsal without the proper skill set needed for the task, just like any sports team, if you aren’t prepared you won’t succeed. “I figured a good place to start to learn music would be piano lab since I already had an interest in piano,” said Clair. From the sports bench to the piano bench, Clair stepped out of his comfort zone, but it wasn’t that easy.

Clair faces the challenges that every beginner must face in order to learn. Since Clair is new to reading music, the challenge of playing the piano was an even bigger endeavor.  “It was hard walking into a class not knowing what to expect and thrown into something I wasn’t familiar with,” said Clair. “The most challenging thing for me was definitely learning how to teach myself and progress on my own since the class is very independent.”

The design of piano lab is to facilitate student’s learning in hopes of them becoming proficient in basic piano skills and independent in work ethic. The end goal is to walk out of the class with more knowledge, ability, and confidence than before. That goal was met by Clair and his peers when they independently exhibited their skill at the recital.

Clair put his time and effort into learning how to read notes, play scales, and perform a composition by showing up early to class and leaving late to get the most out of his rehearsal.  

Not only did he reach his end goal of being able to perform in the recital, he learned some important lessons along the way. “I didn’t just learn how to play simple notes, this class taught me that you have to start somewhere in order to get better. We all at one point suck at something, but it is up to us to put in the effort and try hard so we can succeed and meet our goals.”

Clair’s practice paid off after a semester of hard work. “By the end of the class, I felt confident that I could perform piano all by myself,” Clair said. His performance is proof that you can reach your goals if you put in the effort to try to reach them. “In life, you can’t be afraid to try something new. Just because I’m a kicker on the football field, doesn’t mean that I can’t be a musician at the piano bench,” said Clair. Expanding one’s comfort zone is always a great way to live.