Overcoming, building, creating
My life has been filled with challenges, and sometimes opposition. But, through my optimistic “Let’s-See-What-We-Can-Do” outlook on life, the challenges have always resulted in a positive outcome. I was born almost 3 months premature at 2 ½ pounds. My early birth resulted in the development of retinopathy of prematurity, where I lost vision in one eye and became severely limited in what I can see with the other. Besides the vision loss I also developed a small bleed on the brain resulting in spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.
When I was two years old, I was evaluated at a well-respected medical institution that specializes in assisting children with disabilities. At the evaluation, my parents expressed my love for the piano. This statement was met with great opposition by the doctor, who told my parents that I would never be able to play the piano due to my physical limitations, that I should never be allowed to even touch a piano as it would only frustrate me. My parents knew immediately that she was wrong, and instead of heeding her advice, they said, “Let’s see what he can do.”
My parents say I was born with music in my head, I hear music in everything. Almost since I could sit up to the piano I have played and composed. I now hold a Bachelor of Musical Arts in composition and piano from Brigham Young University-Idaho and my Masters in Computer Music at the Peabody Institute at The John’s Hopkins University. Each piece of music presents its own set of challenges to me. As one with Cerebral Palsy in addition to visual impairments, the technical aspects of a piece can be difficult to master. Learning a difficult piece of music may take me longer than others who don’t have these limitations, but the musical rewards for my hard work are always worth the long hours of rehearsal and patience.