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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Dear Present Me: Your peace is within the piano

Arpita Das
The piano that sits so peacefully on my desk just waiting to be played.

Dear Present me,

Why do you play?

There’s a lot you don’t know about me, and there’s so much left for you to discover. Some aspects of my life will either remain hidden forever, like the president’s secret service or eventually be brought up to the surface, like air bubbles in the water. But either way, this facet of my life is one pretty much everyone knows about: the piano.

The first time I ever mesmerized myself with the ability to touch the ivory keys on the piano was in the first grade. My piano teacher always used to call them chocolate keys because they were black and white. Whenever we’d have piano lessons, I was always allocated to two to three songs per week, but if I was having a really off week, sometimes I’d switch the sticky tabs just to trick my teacher and get another week.

Frankly speaking, I was really young, and I was randomly signed up to take pianoI didn’t really know why I took itbut it was the first hobby that I actually enjoyed doing.

I was one of those kids who didn’t really obtain their smarts from sports but rather from instruments. From doing ballet for a couple of years to doing softball for a  summer and doing ice skating on and offnone of these sports really screamed “Arpita” to me. They either felt too risky, too lonely, and sometimes even too difficult.

But, with the piano, I found some sort of reconciliation with it. A wave of serenity always seems to wash over me whenever my hands dance along the keyboard. It’s almost like my body’s creating some sort of ballroom dance by just playing keys on the keyboard and sitting; it’s genuinely quite amazing, actually.

The more I played, the more I realized that it helped with more than just my hand-eye coordination; it also helped with my intellect and smarts in school. Whenever I would count the number of beats on the time signature on a piece of sheet music, my teacher always wondered if I was good at math, and to that extent, she was correct because I knew how to count the beats correctly. That skill hasn’t changed to this day; math is still one of my favorite subjects.

But if I had one character to describe best how I felt at the time, it would most definitely be China from A.N.T Farm, a child prodigy, to say the least. I didn’t realize it then, but little did I know I was an Einstein in the making. From learning how to play the piano, competing at local competitions, and playing in front of 100s of people to participating in sonatinas (competitions where you must play an entire song by memory), it’s not a surprise as to why my brain works the way it does.

Playing an instrument is beneficial for an infinite number of reasons, and I am living proof that the effects of it aren’t instant, but they start to manifest when you need them most. And when I realized the true power of music, it was around when I started high school.

Although I’ll always miss the nervousness that I felt playing in competitions, recitals, and sonatas, I never stopped playing altogether. Once you start learning the piano, it’s not a skill you ever lose, which my mom greatly feared.

It’s also been the reason why you’ve been able to find those minuscule yet significant pockets of peace in your life.

However, if I had to handpick a couple of memories from my “Piano Playing era” here is what they would be: waltzing in the sunroom of my home with my piano teacher to experience the music I was playing never fails not to be a core memory, because well, how could it not be? I don’t know any other piano teacher willing to dance with their students during lessons.

Another memory that pops into my brain is all those times I had butterflies in my stomach. It was when I found out I was the first to play a song at the very start of our piano recitals. My brain always wondered why I was always chosen to go first and why my name was always first on the list. Finally, one day, I got so apprehensive that I asked my piano teacher, and what she said has stuck with me ever since.

She said the reason why I am always the first to play in almost every recital is because I do well under pressure, which most definitely boosted my confidence by 100%.

And even though I may not play the piano as majestically as I used to, that part of me never left; it was just waiting to be activated by the touch of my fingers on the keys. It also probably explains why I’m such a loud typer. That’s the thing with piano, especially learning it from a young age; it forces both your hands and brain to work at such a quick pace because sheet music doesn’t wait for you.

So, present me, this is why you play the piano: It’s not only been an intrinsic part of your life, but it’s also been the reason why you’ve been able to find those minuscule yet significant pockets of peace in your life.


Present me

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About the Contributor
Arpita Das, Publicity Editor
Arpita is a senior entering her third and final year as a staff writer on The Central Trend. She has been a part of the Science Olympiad team since the 7th grade but made the tough decision choice to step down this year. However, Arpita still keeps herself busy working once a week with kids on Thursdays and being a part of clubs such as Model UN and DECA. When Arpita isn't writing, you will often find her rewatching The Flash on Netflix, playing the piano, doing press on nails, going on walks, studying at the library, and visiting new coffee shops. Despite the fact that it's her last year of high school, she is so excited to see what senior year has in store for her and is curious to see what pieces of writing she will produce. Car: A black Volvo SUV that goes by the name of Ali whom Arpita adores. Favorite food and color: The Fettuccine Alfredo from Olive Garden and Navy Blue Favorite class: Advanced Writing for Publication and Honors Model UN Favorite actor from The Flash: Grand Gustin, also known as Barry Allen Does she have an unhealthy obsession with The Flash? Yes, yes she does, and she always will!  

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