My Musical Journey: Caleb Salinas

My journey with music has had its ups and downs. My first recollection of playing music was probably like most people’s my age: learning popular songs like Greensleeves on the recorder. After that I joined the band in middle school: comically playing an instrument (the bassoon) that was significantly taller than myself, with the need to fulfill an elective rather than join of my own interest.

The first indication of my passion for music happened when we played a piece called ‘Into The Storm’. Thunderous and brash, the piece was fast paced and energetic: easily the hardest piece in our repertoire. Yet despite its difficulty I savored one particular moment. In order to replicate the qualities of a storm our band was instructed to abandon our sheet music; we were given free reign to follow our own individual music intuitions. The result was chaotic yet beautiful. Every rehearsal was a new and different experience. However, not being challenged as much as I wanted to by my teachers (even after persistently asking)  caused my motivation and enthusiasm to wane.

I stopped playing music for about 3-4 years after wishing to pursue the medical classes offered at my high school. The expression “you never know what you have until it’s gone” had never been so relevant until then. The entire time I had always believed there was something missing. It wasn’t until I had sporadically played on a piano at Melharts that I realized it was music.

After buying a small 61-key keyboard for $75-85, and being away from music for so long (with no prior experience to playing piano) I did the only sensible thing an 18 year old would do: look on YouTube. For quite some time I was content, looking up my favorite songs to learn to play in my down time. But after a while I noticed I wanted to become a better pianist and improve my overall musicianship. After going through some piano teachers who just weren’t for me, I was referred by a friend to take lessons with none other than Eddie (Edelir). Yet due to certain circumstances occurring in my life I could not continue lessons with him as much as I wanted. But I continued to play regardless of having a teacher or not.

However once I began to attend music classes at the collegiate level something happened: I was overcome with fear. Comparing myself to the immense talent I saw before me, I was more than a little intimidated (at this point I’d only been playing for 2 years). Yet my previous perception was shattered as the year went on and I got to know my colleagues. Through these people I was able to grow as a musician and build relationships along the way; they were a support system and community I could turn to.

Through my journey with music I’ve gained discipline, perseverance, confidence but more importantly I’ve learned to freely express myself and connect with people through music. Fast forward a little ways to the present and I continue to play to this day. Being able to share in the therapeutic and transcendent joys of music has been a decision I do not regret and continue to share and encourage others to participate in.