For January of 2022, we have our first student of the month: Shristi Dhanraj! Shristi is currently taking piano lessons here at QuaranTunes but she also plays the violin and sings Hindustani classical vocal music. Recently, I interviewed her on her musical background as well as her experience as a student at QuaranTunes.
Shristi is currently nine years old and currently enrolled in Marshall Pomeroy Elementary School in Milpitas, California. At school, she enjoys playing the violin and recently completed the 2021 Hindustani Classical Vocal First Exam for beginners. Around 2020 during the peak of the pandemic, Shristi had decided to start taking piano from QuaranTunes. Initially, she joined QuaranTunes at the whims of her parents because her brother was playing piano so her parents also wanted her to play. Even so, Shristi concludes that over time, she began to appreciate piano very much.
Shristi’s interest in music started some time ago, around the summertime of 2019. She has always been connected to the arts in one way or another. For example, before taking piano, Shristi also took dance lessons. Even so, Shristi has always loved music, especially movie tracks such as the songs from the movie “Encanto.” Overall, “music has been with [her] for a long time,” Shristi comments.
When Shristi first started out on piano, she was struggling to read music or recognize the notes on the piano. Perhaps some of her struggles could be blamed through the ineffectiveness of online learning but overall, piano was rather difficult for her. However over time, Shristi improved tremendously. She began to become more fluent in the language of music and is now able to play pieces that require both hands with greater accuracy. Furthermore, during a family trip to Santa Maria, Shristi utilized her newfound skills as a musician. In our interview, Shristi shared that during that trip, she had discovered a piano in the hotel she was staying at and decided to play a piece for the people staying there. Because it was the holidays, she was learning the Christmas song “Jingle Bells.” Although she found the piece a little tricky, she still decided to have an impromptu performance for the visitors at the hotel.
Shristi states that enjoys her time at QuaranTunes and that she also “likes [how her teacher] teaches [her] and that [she] had a pretty good time.” Through QuaranTunes, Shristi has learned quite a lot from scales to dynamics and because of her lessons from QuaranTunes, her new findings have proved helpful. Since Shristi also plays the violin in her school band, she says that reading notes on her pieces was astronomically easier because the violin also uses the same keys as the piano. “I didn’t have any trouble reading notes,” Shristi says as she shares about her experience in the school's band.
Although piano may not be a part of her future, Shristi still hopes to improve and grow as a musician. She has other goals when it comes to the arts, such as her strong interest in singing. Shristi is quite an accomplished vocalist because before she completed her first exam, her vocal teacher already moved her up a level. In terms of piano, Shristi is currently learning a difficult piece called “First Sonatina in Classic Style” which she hopes to play fluently. When it comes to technical skills, Shristi is still struggling a bit with her left hand which has proved more difficult than her right hand, therefore affecting her fluency when it comes to playing both hands. She also hopes to improve her skills when it comes to dynamics, such as decrescendos or crescendos (gradually decreasing or increasing sound). Despite this, Shristi still enjoys to play the Sonatina and wants to continue to refine her skills as a pianist.
All in all, Shristi is an inspiring musician that has improved greatly in piano through her lessons from QuaranTunes. Not only has she improved technically, but her passion for music has also grown and we can’t wait to see what she’ll succeed in next!
Für Elise played by Shristi Dhanraj:
All photo and video credits goes to Shristi Dhanraj