Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

The sound of music

Anuja Manjrekar

When I was five years old, my parents practically dragged me to my first piano lesson. I wasn’t too interested in music, and the piano — with its geometric frame and massive stature — seemed like an intimidating starting point. Yet, as my instructor patiently taught me how to control the various keys and pedals, I began to understand how welcoming the instrument could be. 

One lesson led to another, and my initial hesitation morphed into unconditional passion. Over the next 13 years, I wholeheartedly dedicated myself to the piano, painstakingly studying for theory exams and meticulously preparing for competitions and recitals. I threw myself into the instrument and never looked back. 

The piano became a respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life, replacing my doubts and stressors with the delicate trill of a sweet melody. As my fingers floated across the keys, my thoughts wandered elsewhere, enamored with musical intensity. I was sure my quintessential bond with the instrument would last a lifetime. 

However, coming to UT abruptly severed my connection to the piano. Inundated with college classes, extracurriculars and the responsibilities of living alone, I struggled to find time to relax, much less play the piano. Whenever I went home, sitting at the piano bench or drilling out a tune felt clunky and unfamiliar. 

What was once an everyday habit had soon become a forgotten reflex. 

As freshman year became sophomore year and my obligations increased, I slowly began to neglect the piano entirely. I brushed off my grandparents’ requests to entertain them with Für Elise, and I was too busy to indulge in my favorite compositions. 

My practiced apathy toward the instrument spoke volumes. 

This past winter break, I finally punctured my indifference. Faced with a rare instance of free time, I gradually re-acquainted myself with the instrument. Though initially rusty, 13 years of muscle memory kicked in with each passing day. By the end of winter break, I could play an array of intricate sonatas and technical songs almost as well as I once did. 

Reconnecting with music, a once-inseparable caveat of my life, reminded me of what I had missed out on. But rather than agonize over the past or mourn lost time, I am eager to move forward with a newfound appreciation for the piano. 

While college is a period of intense change, we shouldn’t forget to cherish the pastimes we once clung to. Allowing university life to overshadow our childhood pursuits, however big or small, is a disservice to the effort and uninhibited joy we experienced from these youthful activities. We must stay in touch with and rekindle our passions to preserve the hobbies that once defined us. 

Not engaging with the piano these past two years chipped away a core part of my identity, and I am determined to build it back. Make no mistake: I will continue my musical progress with renewed enthusiasm when I return home. With surgical precision, my fingers will flutter across F sharps and C flats as I tame the patterned chaos of a grand instrument borne from memories past.

Gokhale is a finance sophomore from Allen, Texas.

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About the Contributor
Mihir Gokhale, Associate Opinion Editor
Mihir Gokhale is a second-year student from Allen, Texas majoring in finance and minoring in economics and government. He currently serves as an Associate Opinion Editor and was previously the Texan's Associate Managing Editor.