I remember the first time it happened.
I was four or five years old, a chubby kid with a love of trading card games and Japanese comic books I’d borrow from a teenage daycare worker. Needless to say, there wasn’t much passion about my life, besides the bliss of simple pleasures. This I felt was a normal trait, but regardless it was soon to be swept out of sight like a cockroach when the light flicks on.
I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s house, a place of wonder and excitement for this tiny version of me. My family had little in the way of cool gadgets, pools, and other things capable of thoroughly juicing a child’s dopamine receptors, so each visit was held with upmost importance. This day, after a long session of diving boards and big screen tv’s, I decided to be an adventurer. Ducking, diving, and monkey-crawling my way down the hallway, I slipped into a bedroom I wasn’t technically allowed in. After a brief moment of self commendation on having missed what surely could have been a hefty grounding, I saw it. Against the wall, thickly coated in dust, was a full size, unweighted Casio keyboard. Fumbling to plug in the archaic machine, I was delighted at the subtle buzz of its mechanisms as the board lit up to greet me. Still, the sound was not the one I wanted. Sitting down at the bench, I took a deep breath. I had no idea how this machine worked, what a note was, or any sound idea on where to start. Committing myself, I pressed a few keys. Dissonance filled the air, but it captivated me, begging for more. I spent the next two hours in that room, with the volume on low, amusing myself with the vast connection these sounds were bringing to me. I heard my mom call out for us to leave, and knew what I’d ask her on the drive home.
Unfortunately, my piano career was rather brief. Three years of method books had driven me away from that feeling I’d experienced in that little room. Luckily, I found it again. I joined Percussion in seventh grade, and was immediately hooked. I excelled, and eventually found myself first chair in my high school jazz and wind ensembles. I gigged with bands around Ft. Worth, made a spot in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, and diligently continued my studies. All of it in search of the link I had made with that humble Casio.
To this day this spiritual connection to performance drives me. Inside my heart, performance allows me to reflect on myself in a way more truthful than words. Outwardly, it offers my heart for display, a connection with people impossible through mere conversation. Music is more than a job to me, its a way of living. Maybe that’s hokey, but I can’t explain it any other way. Its all I love, and my heart will chase it endlessly into the great abyss of the future.