Josephine Chou, Saratoga, California

“To me, music is a form of expression and healing. I was a shy and extremely quiet middle schooler; I did not have many friends nor was I confident. Because I found it difficult to express myself using words, I turned to music to ease my pain and struggles. While playing piano, I was in another world, another world where I belonged, where my feelings, merged with passages of notes, was considered a piece of art. Music helped me to rediscover myself and find what I am passionate about. Since I have experienced music’s healing and spiritual renewing qualities, I am passionate about bringing it to communities who do not easily have access to it in hopes of it working miracles in their lives as well.

I started piano when I was almost four. In preschool, we had show-and-tell, and kids would play the piano. I thought it was really cool, so I wanted to learn. My mom is a piano teacher, so I went home and asked her to teach me. As a kid, it’s really hard to enjoy practice, so there were times where I really wanted to quit. Because piano was already part of who I was, I thought I probably shouldn’t quit. I think I really started to enjoy it a lot after I went to this music camp in the summer of fifth grade. It was chamber music, so I met a bunch of other people who really enjoyed what they were doing — pianists, violists, cellists — and that’s still one of my favorite memories. Music camps always really helped to further my passion for music. Your love for music doesn’t only come from creating it, but also listening to other people. For me, I gain a lot of inspiration from that and it makes me really happy. 

I went to a middle school with barely any other Asians. I felt really out of place sometimes. The kids’ main focus there wasn’t really on studying. I felt like an outsider sometimes. I think music helped me cope with that a lot. I think that was the one thing that I could express my emotions into because I was really quiet, and I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with talking to other people about my struggles and insecurities, but being able to express that through the piano helped me a lot. It helped me to become more open.”

— Josephine Chou, Saratoga, California

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