I first got involved with [piano] in the first grade. My mom is a music teacher, so she wanted my older brother and I to start getting involved with music in the second grade, but I wanted to start earlier. My first teacher was Mrs. Creed. In third grade I switched teachers for more of a challenge. I also started playing the clarinet from my mother. I started with my current teacher in seventh grade and began a composition [for piano]. I had to memorize seven songs and perform to a judge. I’m given a rating and can be certified for my teacher on a national level. I got involved in marching band and jazz band in junior high and continued it into [my first two years of] high school. What I really enjoy about music is that it’s like a universal language — everyone can listen and understand it when they try. People use music to express their feelings, allowing others to understand who we are all like. It’s a special type of communication that everyone can find in common with.