The Mind Behind Pianoland

By Eviana Ramirez.

Many of the scholars attending Heritage Academy have met or heard of the wonderful Mrs. Alston who teaches orchestra and Pianoland. Four days a week, she instructs her students with great pep and enthusiasm for music. As every class begins, Mrs. Alston immerses herself in music which inspires her students. Her skill level will begin to blow your mind when her fingers begin to glide on each individual key, as if to be speaking a language fluently. This talent however was not accumulated overnight but instead started at the young age of six years old.

As a young girl,  Mrs. Alston was inspired by her older siblings and mother to take up the piano. After beginning private lessons, she quickly found a passion for playing and recalls never having to be told to practice. Instruments proved to be a large part of her life and later she picked up the violin. Mrs. Alston admits that she is unable to compare her love for these two instruments because they provide different benefits to her life. From the piano “she learned” self discipline, integrity, hard work, and accountability. As she plays, she feels a relationship and connection to the piano that she describes as the “magic of music.” Later in life, she considered becoming a paralegal or a dermatologist, but by her junior year of high school she realized that her love of music was too strong to let go. She attended college where she provided accompaniment  for vocal and instrumental majors. Unlike many who grow tired of their hobbies, she proclaims she never thought of quitting and used her professors to set a bar to succeed. Mrs. Alston contributes her success to her private teacher, Nancy Spitzer, who enforced “a journey of progression.” Even in today’s classes you can see that Mrs. Alston has put in place a similar curriculum where students can approach there teacher no matter their skill level and still feel confident. In Pianoland, the individuality of every student is recognized, and she believes instruments provide humans with every opportunity to become a better person. Some may get an adrenaline rush from making a touchdown or swishing a basket, but Mrs. Alston says the difference is the stillness which allows more emotional feeling and gratification. The feeling of being unaccountable to anyone while pressing the keys is what draws her in. When asked if she would have the same happiness in gratification in a different field, Mrs. Alston admits that she would be her best self in any occupation but appreciates that her music has never felt like a job. Mrs. Alston continues to teach her students with zeal for her instruments and hopes to instill a willingness to try.

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