It’s my birthday again

Grace Lam

I’m another year wiser! I haven’t lost my driver’s license even once this year.

Thank you to everyone for your support and keeping me accountable. When I don’t write for a while, I get emails in my inbox asking where I am! I read every comment and email. Even if I can’t respond to everyone, the comments are important to me. I’ve been through some pretty tough times and you guys continually support and encourage me

I was feeling down on myself that I hadn’t done anything impressive this year. But in situations like this, it’s best to keep your head up and stop comparing yourself to others, because you set your own benchmarks.

Here are two significant things I’ve done this past year, and two that I will do in the coming year.

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When to start a new instrument

When people invest a lot of time into a genre of music, that genre becomes a template for everything they listen to. I have played classical music for so long that I almost guess which chord comes next. So, it’s refreshing to listen to a new genre and instrument.

After all, things that scare you also push you.

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What to ask yourself before moving for a job

What to Ask Yourself before Moving for a Music JobAbout a year ago, I wanted to see if I was smart enough to be a developer. It was a chance for me to see if could you teach yourself something (music, basketball, coding), and excel to be on par with everyone who received formal training.

On the first day, I stood next to the other developers and engineers, where everyone was dressed in their best first-day wear. We smiled over our coffee cups and eavesdropped on the mundane small talk conversation that was really the most interesting thing in the room. I went to the washroom to adjust my awkwardly-fitting shirt a few times.

I didn’t have an engineering degree and I was not male. But you know what? I ended up doing fine in that job.

As a coder, it’s hard to differentiate your own code from other people’s code in a large code base, but I worked on a smaller code base with 2-3 other developers and it was not hard to see which code was mine.

I often worked through lunch and my team made me feel ridiculous about working too much, so I started going to the gym at 2pm and blasting rock music for an hour. No one else in the team remembered that the hallway lights and heating turned themselves off at 7pm but I figured it out in my first week.

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A Gift That Keeps Giving

A gift that keeps giving

Hi friends, I’ve returned to school for a few months this year.

We only need 60 days to pick up a new habit, so here’s to the process of learning something new. I’d rather not sit in a lecture, but if I have to, I might as well tell you stories about it. Shouldn’t we be constantly learning, anyways?

 

We are sitting in lecture, and the professor is explaining a software concept that’s not particularly interesting, speaking quickly in a soft voice.

“This section of the memory is shared—”

A male student sitting in front of me slaps himself in the face.

The professor proceeds with the lecture.

The student keeps slapping himself and making loud noises. Someone behind me is chomping on chips. I am trying not to laugh, but I could be jiggling the entire row of seats.

My laughter subsides but returns in waves when the guy slaps himself again. He is huffing loudly. I don’t know who’s more distracting to the class: the guy slapping himself, the girl giggling behind him, or the guy chomping away on chips behind us.

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8 Piano Solos For A Winter Wonderland

8 Piano Solos For A Winter Wonderland

This showcase is compiled and written by my friend Molly Rahal!

As you get older, time seems to go by faster and faster. Can you believe it’s already part-way through November?

One of the things I love so much about winter is how eternal it seems. Almost as if we’re stuck in time.

In a way it’s comforting, how the sun setting early never seems to end, and how when it snows, the delicate white powder silences the streets.

Winter is jolly. It’s magical. Why not learn a piano solo which reflects that?

Here is a small collection of eternally beautiful and festive piano solos to enrich your winter with tunes and good spirit!

 

1. Winter Wonderland – Felix Bernard

A relevant title for a fitting song.

Sheet Music

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How To Be The Best Musician You Can Be

How To Be The Best Musician You Can be

I used to think that if I went travelling for a few months, I’d get the travel bug out of my system, but I hate staying in one place. It’s like saying you can get music out of your system if only you played it 24/7 for a week straight.

So I started to feel stuck, like I wasn’t getting anywhere.

 

“Stop running from your problems,” my mom says.

“I’m not running,” I say.

We have had this conversation a million times, where my friends are too fake to tell me the truth about how much I suck.

“Stop complaining about things that people can’t change,” I say. “No one is perfect.”

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Why Music Theory Can Be A Waste of Time

Why Music Theory Can be a Waste of TimeBack when kids still asked what Google was, a lot of us had to take music theory classes. Now, I can still point out which fingers Schumann cut off. Maybe some people will point out that they were paralysed, but to a pianist, the fingers might as well have been cut off if you can’t move them.

I can’t remember how many years he spent torturing his fingers, but Google can. And it was a waste of months of my time, memorizing mundane details about composers’ lives, about which years they wrote which letters to their secret lovers, that happened to influence their music a little.

I wouldn’t have done it if the music curriculum didn’t require it to get a piano diploma.

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