My story with the piano started out like most. I don’t recall asking to take piano lessons, but at the age of 8 I found myself doing just that. As the youngest of four children I was destined to follow in the footsteps of either playing a sport or an instrument. My lack of interest in anything competitive (which for the most part remains with me today) naturally ruled out sports. To be honest I don’t remember ever being excited about piano lessons. I had wonderful teachers, but as an overly-imaginative child (some may call it ADD) I found the rigidity of piano lessons frustrating. However, with my parents’ promise of “you’ll thank us later” I stuck with it into my mid-teens.
Around the age of 15 I finally discovered music. I stumbled across artists like David Lanz, Kurt Bestor, and despite the quizzical looks from my friends, Yanni. These artists helped me realize the connection between emotions and music. Though I had practiced and played music by the “masters” like Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven, I just wasn’t hearing or feeling this connection before. That changed the year my parents took me to a Yanni concert. The stage was absolutely packed with world-class musicians from all across the globe. Each was given his or her turn to take the lead in various songs, and I remember vividly seeing and sensing the depth of emotion of each musician. That same Christmas my parents bought me my first keyboard. I spent hours playing with the various instruments and rhythms. I started writing my own music and announced to my parents – “I’d like to quit piano lessons.” Though they were hesitant at first, wondering if I’d stick with the piano, they eventually relented.
My Dad, who was always my biggest supporter, passed away in 2004. Not long before he passed he had a coworker design me some beautiful business cards – The Peaceful Piano – and told me, “You have to make the most of your music.” Though it’s taken some years, I hope I’m making him proud.
My personal philosophy – The most complicated piece performed flawlessly does little for the soul, while the most simple song, if played with sincere feeling, is a true ‘masterpiece’.
I currently make my home near Tacoma, Washington with my wife and three sons, and have spent the majority of my life in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by the green and yes, often the gray.
Enjoy the music. （Brad Jacobsen）