More About Deborah Cole
What is your musical background?
Growing up my grandma was a piano teacher, and I didn't live near her, but it was definitely always her dream that I would play. When she came to visit us she would give me quick mini-lessons and try to cram as much into my brain as she could. In the 8th grade, I went to my parents and said, "Okay, I really want to learn piano this year." That same year my grandma was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away a few years later. As life has gone on, I've really felt like I'm walking in her shoes in a sense.
I started taking music lessons in Canada, since I lived there at that time. The lessons were through the Royal Conservatory of Music. There are 10 different levels, and you prep all year long for an exam, attempting to move up a level. I did that for several years before moving back to the United States and continuing lessons here.
Voice was different. I sang all through my life. I have two older sisters who are much older than I am, and they always sang when I was growing up, and I always wanted to be just like them. So I sang and imitated them. I didn't start taking voice lessons until college, actually, so this is the first time I've put lessons to it.
Formal lessons have been eye opening to all the things I didn't know. Piano and voice are similar: you can teach yourself piano and you can know how to play something, but you might not know why it's working. Same with your voice, you can sing something and know it sounds pretty, but you may not know what placement you're using or why it sounds that way. The training has been very useful for me.
I'm currently going to The King's University in Southlake studying for my Bachelor of Arts in Worship Leadership with a focus in piano.
Why do you love music?
I love music because it's kind of like a language. It's definitely one that you have to learn, like any language. It doesn't come naturally for most people, so it is like learning a language in that sense, too. You do have to work through it, but once you learn it, you've earned yourself a new, creative way to express yourself that you never would have thought possible.
Once you have really learned the language and taken the time to practice you can start incorporating yourself into the music and writing songs. You can ask yourself okay, how can I create a song with this scale? Instead of thinking, I'm going to play these chords, you'll start asking where could this lead, what could this turn into, and where do I want this to take me? It's a really fun journey.
Why do you teach?
It's kind of funny because all three of my older siblings went into education, and I went into music thinking it was something totally different. But even now while I'm still working on my degree, I'm already teaching. I didn't realize how much just learning the language of music makes you want to pass that on to others.
I never anticipated becoming a piano teacher, but it's almost like once you get to a certain point you want to teach because you want to share with other people everything you've learned and hope that music will change their lives just like it's changed your own.
What is your most embarrassing moment involving music?
When I started taking piano I was in middle school. I had my first recital at 13 years of age, and I was playing a beginner's song. My teacher lined up everybody for the recital in order of how hard their songs were. Most of her students were 5, 6, 7 and 8, and every single one of them was in front of me. I looked so much older than them, but they were playing songs that were so much harder than mine. I got up there and had this wimpy song that was so easy to play!
When it was all said and done though, I remember being actually kind of proud that I stuck it out. And later I thought, you know what, piano is important to me. I'm glad that I stuck it out even though I started later in life. Today, that is something that I try to encourage others with, because you are never too old to learn how to play an instrument.
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