My natural tendency to procrastinate was detrimental to my performance. The annual CM exam was always my greatest fear- why do I keep doing this to myself? Flashcard after flashcard, I recited all unknown terms that were buried in the textbook- only to lack a core understanding of the material. The prominent music eras were memorized without grasping the “whys” and “hows” behind the composers. I only focused on passing the exam and failed to realize what piano really embodied: analytical thinking. A week before the exam, I spent my Sunday afternoon in a cramped studio with anxious students, all solving timed practice problems for that perfect score. When the timer rang, I was chosen to present my work in front of the entire class. Halfway through my poor explanation, with legs fluttering and palms sweating, Mrs. Vivien exclaimed, “Yes, we already know what arpeggio means- try to actually understand and apply the concept.” I began to put aside my reliance on intuition and utilized my reasoning for that sudden light-bulb moment to kick in. As my thoughts are quenched by every moment, all distraction faded and I concentrated until arpeggio finally made sense- I applied it on the ivory keys, demonstrating notes of a chord being played one after another. A feeling of accomplishment swept over me. There was more meaning to piano than rote memorization or rehearsal. It was a comprehensive study that tested one’s intellectual ability. Piano pushed me to instill a deeper, thorough understanding by seeking new ways to extract solutions. I relate piano to creative, real-life examples- similar to how a conjunction connects thoughts, a modulation connects keys. I no longer fear the exam- but rather I look forward to expanding my intellectual horizons. Piano cultivates my innovative thinking beyond normal limitations. The “whys” and “hows” have created an insatiable hunger for constant learning and analysis. Whether it be attempting Taekwondo or solving rigorous physics problems, everything I do becomes an inspiring creative endeavor. I want to manifest ideas into reality, educe latent knowledge, and immerse myself into the massive world of exploration.