Notes to my younger self

Dear four-year-old Vani, 

The keyboard feels really strange, isn’t it? Taking instruction to put your index finger and middle finger on the piano and pretending to be a crab is not making any sense either. However, just bare with her, she is going to be your piano teacher for the next ten years.


Dear eight-year-old Vanessa,

Look at that brand new, shiny piano! Aren’t you super excited to play with it? Even though your best piece at the moment is only Delibes’ Pizzicato from Sylvia, that is fine. You will introduce your piano to Pachelbel’s Canon in D soon and you will play the Mendelssohn’s first Concerto on it in twelve years time.


Dear nine-year-old Vanessa,

I know it was not easy to keep up with the rest of the band members who are much older than you. They talked about hard chord progressions while you are still struggling with G major chord. You almost cried thinking, ‘give me music to read!’, but you kept going! You would be surprised with how many people you will collaborate with in the future, because you kept practicing and repeating the chord progressions at home.


Dear ten-year-old Vanessa,

I still remember how you refused to sing when you were rehearsing with the accompanist, but you performed Somewhere Over The Rainbow really well even though it was your first time singing alone in front of people! Next time, please do not be afraid! The accompanist would not judge your voice thinking that everyone else is better than you.


Dear twelve-year old Vanessa,

You felt like throwing up while waiting for your turn for the exams. You felt that you are not ready for having your piano and your first violin exam on the same day, one exam after another. You thought you could not do it but you got distinction for both exams! Later in life, one of your role models will tell you that you can do more than you think. When the time comes, there will be a big smile on your face because you know that it is true.


Dear thirteen-year-old Vanessa,

You had your last studio class before the exam and your friends played really well. You did not and apparently, you have been playing some wrong notes and you only have five days to make them right. You practiced really hard and ended up getting a very high mark compared to your friends, but I think it is not the best part. The best thing is that you did four hours practice for the first time on the night before exam. Keep in mind that your personal best record was an hour. Well done!


Dear fifteen-year-old Vanessa,

This is the first time for you to work in a production and learn how to rehearse with people. I know you love it! Also, this is the time when you fell in love with singing in an ensemble. PS: Even five years after the concert, you will find yourself singing, “For as long as I have music, as long as there’s a song for me to sing…”


Dear sixteen-year-old Vanessa,

You will never forget that moment when your Physics teacher said that you could not succeed in life if you are not good at physics. Guess what, I am now doing fine without physics, and you will learn that your life does not revolve around the Newton Law.


Dear seventeen-year-old Vanessa,

You are going to have your first recital and you are worried because the pieces are not sounding perfect. Trust me, everything is going to be fine. In fact, your 20-year-old self just been told to not to be a perfectionist who gets panic all the time. Chill.


Dear eighteen-year-old Vanessa,

You were upset. You told your teacher that you are not ready for Sunday. It was Friday and you still had not finished the piece. Instead of giving you permission to pull out, he said, “You still have two days to practice, I know that you can do it, this piece suits you. That is why I am really hoping that you could perform this one!” Let me give you an advise, do not be upset! Go to the practice room, repeat those octaves twenty times and the next thing you know is you got it right.


Dear nineteen-year-old Vanessa,

It feels like everyone in the production is intimidating, not only because they are older, they are also more experienced than you. Believe in yourself! After this, you will decide that it is not as scary as you think, and you will realize that this is one of the things that you would love to do in the future.


With love,

20-year-old Vanessa (who is going to have her piano and violin recital exam in six weeks time)


PS: I still like to stress over things