Since kindergarten, the piano has played an integral role in my life. Waking up at 5:00 a.m. every morning to practice the piano not only requires dedication, but passion. On Sundays, I often play as a substitute pianist for local churches and take pride in sharing my passion with the local community. Over the years, my time spent playing the piano has certainly taught me valuable lessons about discipline that have carried over to other aspects of my life.

While practicing the piano can sometimes be tedious, it has instilled in me the importance of tenacity. New pieces cannot be learned in hours; new material must be navigated with care and dedication and practiced regularly. The importance of tenacity transfers to other areas of life as well: whether it’s a new job or project, it is important to persevere and refrain from giving up due to difficulties or boredom. While the day-to-day advancements may seem miniscule, over time, tenacity contributes to larger, more significant accomplishments.

Going in hand with tenacity, playing the piano has also taught me that passions are journeys and should be treated as such. Though there may be moments in between consistent and diligent practice where you would rather you have already mastered your passion, craft, or project, it’s important to be patient and to not wish away hard work and dedication. Art forms, in particular, are in flux and take thousands of hours to learn and perfect, and even then, your learning is never truly complete. Instead, I have found it is valuable to enjoy the journey of any passion or project and to truly revel in the act of obtaining and exercising knowledge.

As it takes years to truly master a craft, everyone moves at different paces. Some have begun learning their craft earlier than you have and may practice it more often, whereas others have just begun pursuing their craft and are limited in their time for execution. Regardless of your work and dedication, someone will always be better at you in your craft or work. While this may appear discouraging, it helps bring everything into perspective. Passions should supplement your life, not add unnecessary stress. You’re never going to advance yourself or your craft if you’re constantly worrying about your competition. Use your passions to amplify your joys and contribute to your community.

Lastly, I have learned that your passion doesn’t necessarily have to be something you’re inherently good at. My devotion to piano began at a young age, when I was still growing developmentally. While I loved playing the piano, it’s hard to say whether I began as a good player. Having an affinity for a craft or project is more than enough to claim a passion. If you love work or a craft enough, you will become good at it through learning and exercising your passion.