I began studying classical piano at 5 ½ years of age and continued until high school graduation in 2000. Throughout high school, I competed at state and regional levels on the piano and was also very active in band, playing the alto saxophone. With my mom’s encouragement, I began recording songs when I was 11 and finished compiling a classical piano CD at the age of 17.
In college, I switched gears. I took a break from classical music and started playing at church. A friend taught me how to play by ear using chords. I eventually became one of the worship leaders and enjoyed the experience very much.
However, classical music is part of my soul, and I came back to it when I started medical school. I never knew how much I needed to play until, for the first time in my life, I had no access to a piano. During that first semester, I bought a guitar and learned how to play it because I missed creating music so much. But, it just wasn’t the same for me. My mom helped me find a cheap piano, and from that point on, playing the piano became essential. It was an outlet for the intense rigors and pressures of the first two years of medical school. Somewhere amidst all the studying, I keenly practiced several hours a day. (Well, actually, it was usually in the middle of the night when I practiced. God bless my neighbors for putting up with it!)