Bryan has been learning to play the piano for many years. He first showed a desire as a little tyke, sitting on the bench next to me and pushing down random keys.
When he became a bit older, he tried piano lessons with the church organist. That didn’t last long.
Music therapy with a therapist form the Kardon Institute gave him the chance to try his hand at singing, “composing”, playing recorder, drums and piano. He would dabble a little at each – jack of all trades, master of none. But the point of therapy wasn’t a mastery of any particular discipline, just an exposure to many types of music and self-expression. Gradually, he settled on his love of singing and of playing piano in his therapy sessions.
His singing took him to the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia – twice. And, then, the therapist changed her studio to just the teaching of piano. Rather than quit, Bryan decided to concentrate on the piano, though he does sing the notes as he plays to help him learn more thoroughly. (see video) He tries so hard, taking his playing very seriously.
Performing in various recitals both live and on Zoom become much-anticipated events which we always try to attend, of course at Bryan’s insistence. Sometimes the act of announcing his name, piece and composer is harder for him than the actual piano performance. Still, he perseveres and tries to do his best. Younger students typically perform rings around him. But that is not the point. And it doesn’t seem to bother him.
Doing his “personal best” either on an outside track competing in Special Olympics or in a quiet recital hall playing in front of a live or virtual audience is the ultimate goal. Always trying. Always striving. And whether at sports or at piano, the gratifying applause at the end of the striving makes it all worthwhile. He’ll never be a Lang Lang or a Horowitz. And that’s OK with Bryan. He performs for the love of it. And what better reason?