Her fingers ache and her ears grow tired of listening to the same songs as the hours tick away. In a few days, she will have to perform for tons of watchful eyes, but in the end, it will be worth it.
Sophomore Jessie Li has been an avid pianist since she recently achieved the highest rank of piano proficiency by acquiring the title of Grandmaster–level 10. She took numerous piano lessons over the course of her childhood
“Every week, my teacher came to my house to teach me,” Li said. “My first teacher only taught up to level five, my second teacher taught up to level eight, and my current teacher teaches students higher than level eight.”
Li practices for at least one hour every day using her own grand piano. When Li was preparing for level tests, assessments of her piano skill that would determine if she would move up a rank, she practiced pieces for six hours a day. With help from her coaches, Li overcame the obstacles with more ease.
“Before [a] level test, my coach would come on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday,” Li said.
Throughout her experiences, Li has participated in various recitals and performances, in which she collaborates with another pianist on stage.
“One person takes the melody and one person takes the harmony,” Li said. “Both of us will be playing with both of our hands.”
Some recitals are more personal, where she performs in an intimate space for a smaller audience. Her competitors are usually other students who are at the same level as her.
“For Teacher Appreciation Day, all the students got together and each played a piece,” Li said. “And that’s more like a recital, because there’s only like 20 students there.”
On a regular basis, Li utilizes her experience with the piano to advance her efficiency as a student, especially when it comes to working with her hands.
“Playing piano helped me in typing,” Li said. “My typing speed is faster than average.”
Even if Li does not win the top award every time she competes, her reward is the music and experience itself.
“I guess the reward is the end result, because when you play something that’s really hard, it also sounds really good,” Li said. “After I play it, I would feel accomplished.”
Li plans to take advantage of her piano skills and what she has learned to better herself as a student and pianist.