Deeksha Lal, a graduate student in electrical engineering, was hungry for more when she finished an introductory piano class last year. So she decided to take the next step, taking a second class taught by professor Olga Kleiankina.
That’s where NC State magazine left things when it published a story in its summer issue on a Class Piano I course taught by Kleiankina. With the new issue arriving in mailboxes this week, we caught up with Lal to talk about her experience with Class Piano II.
“It was really good,” Lal said. “I wasn’t able to spend as much time with it as I was in the first semester because I had other stuff going on, like Ph.D. qualifying exams. But it was really good.”
Readers of the magazine article will know that Lal started the introductory class with no musical background. She came to NC State to study electrical engineering, but was looking for a creative diversion from all her time in the lab. In Class Piano I, she spent hours practicing outside of class as she struggled to learn how to read music and identify notes. By the end of the semester, she performed three songs at the final recital.
“One of my ideas was that in grad school I would be able to take a lot of creative courses, particularly in writing,” she says. “I hadn’t really thought I would do this.”
Lal says the second piano class focuses on longer, more complicated songs. She also said the students had a wider range of abilities than she experienced in the introductory class. “It was pretty intimidating,” she says. “Professor Olga is good at keeping it a level playing field.”
Lal says much of the class was spent working on a major piece to perform at a recital at the end of the semester. She chose a shorter piece by Schumann.
“I found it challenging,” she says. “A lot of other people in the class would have thought it was easy.”
Lal says she now feels comfortable performing in front of others, and has gained a greater appreciation and understanding of music. She hopes to continue playing herself long after she is finished with graduate school.
“It’s not scary anymore,” she says. “I think I can do thing on my own on the piano. Sometimes I hear a song and think, ‘I could play that.'”