by Max Wang, Palo Alto
The following essay was written as part of IYE’s biannual timed writing assessment. We’ve left in a few minor errors because the essay is outstanding in its organization, examples, and creativity. It’s impressive work, and even more impressive in that it was written in 45 minutes.
Play the Piano
G, G, G, E♭—F, F, F, D. Recognize this tune? Well, if you play the piano, then you would definitely instantaneously recognize the tune. The tune to which I’m referring to is Beethoven’s famous Symphony No. 5 (the one that goes: dun dun dun DUNNN). If you could not figure out what that was, chances are you don’t play the piano, and it is to that I ask: “Why?” A lot of people already play the piano, but I think more people should play the piano as it is better for one’s body, can get one more fame, and is easy to pick up and learn.
First of all, more people should play the piano because it helps one’s body both mentally and physically. When one actually thinks about all the work that goes into playing the piano, it can seem like too much. For instance, one must have to stay on beat, play the notes for both hands at the same time, even though the notes and rhythm may not be the same, and be operating the pedals, all while maintaining perfect posture. Every time one sits down to play the piano, he or she is giving their brain a master workout. All the aforementioned priorities that a pianist must do make he or she an excellent multitasker. After all, if one can do all of that to perfection, what is exactly stopping them from cooking fried rice and ramen at the same time? Additionally, the piano also offers physical benefits. Hands and wrists are doing the most work when one plays the piano. Thus the piano improves dexterity and hand-eye coordination. The piano can also serve as means to calm one’s heart rate down. The piano is a calming instrument, and it has been used throughout history to display one’s emotion. It was designed to reflect human emotion and feeling, especially during the Romantic Era. The piano provides many physical and mental benefits.
Secondly, the piano should be considered by more people because it can get one more fame. The piano is a popular instrument already, so there are already a lot of competitions for it. For example, here in California there is CMC (California Music), which is a piano competition exclusive to California that tests one’s ability to perform repertoire, sight-reading, technique, and music theory knowledge. Because it is such a well-known competition, doing well in it can get you recognized by colleges and music organizations from around the world, not just California. A current senior at G___ High School is one of these people. He entered a piano competition two years ago, and because of his performance, Carnegie Hall invited him to play in that very famous hall. And because of Carnegie Hall’s reputation, he was able to get into a very good UC. Therefore, the piano brings fame to the table.
Lastly, the piano is easy to grasp. To put it simply, playing the piano is just one’s fingers going up and down on the piano. Want to make it sound better? Just use your feet to press the pedal ever so often and change how much force your fingers use every so often. Compared to other instruments like the trombone, the piano is definitely easier. For example, when playing the trombone, one has to figure out when they are going to breathe, and to change the pitch, they have to blow into the horn in a different manner. To make matters worse, the other instruments don’t provide as many benefits as the piano, so the piano for sure has more bang for the buck. Additionally, the piano has a vast octave range of seven and a half. The human voice can only stretch three and a third octaves on average. If the other instruments want to come close to the piano, they have to complicatedly shift their fingers (ex: violin) or breathe into their instruments a little harder (ex: trombone). The piano being easy to learn makes it preferable to other instruments.
The upshot of the benefits of the piano is that it benefits one’s body, helps one to obtain more fame, and that it is straightforward to learn. So why don’t you give the piano a try?