November 2018, Vol. XXIV, No. 3

 

4) Piano Prodigies

 

By way of the "PAX's Got Talent!" contest, we learned that Olena (FLEX, Ukraine, hosted by the Schneider family in North Dakota) and Pablo (Spain, hosted by the Gros family in Texas) are both talented pianists who continue to play as much as they can during their exchange years.

Olena has been playing since she was a child, inspired by her mother’s musical abilities. Some of her earliest memories are of her mother singing and playing the piano. She loves playing both classical and modern music and performed a mash-up of popular songs for her contest entry. Olena says, “Music always improves my mood and gives me positive thoughts. It helps me to relax and to be happy. I think that life without music would be boring and dull. Music is an indispensable part of my life. That's why I love it so much!”

Pablo is self-taught and has been playing for two years. He was inspired by a friend who introduced him to the music room in his high school. While she played the flute, he learned to play the piano and was soon practicing every day. Now he plays as often as possible at the home of his Texas host family (who fortunately have a piano!) and shared two of his favorite songs for his contest entry. Pablo says, “These songs are my favorite ones, because they are easy for me to play and they sound really good. I have spent a lot of time on them, especially “River Flows in You” because it was the first song I learned, and I was learning the piano notes at the same time.”