Let’s go there. Let’s start with the reality that a lot of us don’t like to admit to. We especially dislike talking about this as a music school, but here it goes:
A lot of kids are forced to take music lessons.
There. We got it out. Now onward.
Ayush + Shambhavi Pachauri
WE LOVE THEM
They're not afraid to take risks.
BUT THEY’RE GOOD FOR YOU
This reality was true for two of our students: Ayush and Shambhavi Pachauri. They were initially forced to take music lessons. For Ayush, his dad made him start piano lessons when he was about seven years old. For Shambhavi, band was mandatory at school. None of the instruments really appealed to her so she simply picked the one she disliked the least: drums.
Sound familiar? Maybe it wasn’t music lessons for all of us, but many of us know what it’s like to be forced to learn something we don’t want to learn. These stories often start the same, but fortunately, they don’t all end with tears of frustration or apathy and boredom.
Ayush and Shambhavi are quintessential examples of a forced start taking a turn for the better. Six years later, they’re both still playing their instruments (thanks, Dad!) and what used to be a chore has now turned into an escape and outlet. Not to mention something that’s helped them build community and confidence.
WATER AND WAVES
Being pushed to try something outside their comfort zone isn’t a new experience for these siblings. Shambhavi recalls her job last summer as a lifeguard at a pool. Not only was she charged with helping to keep others safe, she also had to learn to teach and lead others. “I’m kind of shy and have a hard time explaining myself.” shares Shambhavi. “I was really scared to do this, but Dad said it was really important to have instructing experience.” So despite everything, Shambhavi took the job and rose to the occasion.
For Ayush, he talks about a completely different experience, but coincidentally it also involves water and waves: driving a jet ski for the first time. He had never driven one before, but wanted to experience what it was like. So after a quick tutorial in real-time, Ayush took command of the machine and started jumping from wave to wave. “It was new and different and I loved the feeling.”
Taking risks and trying new things is a critical part of learning. We don’t grow without taking risks. Whether it’s music or leadership roles or flying over waves, Shambhavi and Ayush show us that sometimes you have to “do it anyway” even when fear is standing in our way. Taking this step into the unknown is worth it. “Now I love [playing] piano. It’s peaceful.” shares Ayush “And I can play a lot of different songs.” We agree, Ayush, piano is kind of awesome like that.
"It was new and different and I loved the feeling."
IT’S A MISTAKE TO AVOID FAILURE
Playing in a Backbeat band also changed the way both Ayush and Shambhavi experienced music. It was when Shambhavi started playing drums in her Rock Band that she realized how much she loved being a drummer. She loves her role in the band as the one who sets the tempo for each song and how she can express her own creativity with perfectly-placed fills and tight transitions. But her favourite thing about playing in a band? “My bandmates always support and encourage me to go on,” shares Shambhavi, “even if I make a mistake. They always help me and don’t judge.”
For us, this speaks to another important piece of the learning journey: an awesome learning environment where you feel safe making mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable. We all know this. Sometimes it’s not the mistakes themselves that make us fear failure so much. Rather it’s the worry about what people around us will think if/when we fail. Hearing about the support Shambhavi gets from her bandmates reminds us of the impact of positive community when we’re trying new things. Whether it’s music or something else we’re looking to grow in, having the right people in our corner helps us get back up and try again.
Thanks, Ayush and Shambhavi, for showing us what it means to take a risk and learn something new. And how something that starts with “I have to” can end with “I want to.” Here’s to both of you and the wild, unpredictable adventure of learning!