How it all Started

 

Hi there! My name is David Loebsack, and my wife Chrissy and I started Arts & Minds Academy based on a vision that has been developing since before we were married. We like to tell this story in three parts: this is Part 1, and here are the links to Part 2 and Part 3.

OK now that's out of the way, let the story begin!

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I (David) grew up playing classical piano. I think I started when I was five or six years old. We had this little old upright in our living room that my grandma Edith gave me, and when I was about 6 or 7 years old, my mom started getting me involved with piano lessons. She found a local teacher (Sal, pictured below) through word-of-mouth and I would go to his house every week for about an hour's worth of lessons.

 7-year-old me and my teacher, Sal...

7-year-old me and my teacher, Sal...

As it turns out I inherited some good "artistic" genes, so I was a quick study, and moved through the basics and into more intermediate studies fairly quickly. I ended up taking lessons all the way through to my senior year in high school, and plowed through the standard classical repertoire: Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Brahms, etc. Everybody in my family pushed me to pursue music because they saw I had some talent. Ultimately this meant I had to participate in a lot of competitions and recitals.

I didn't really like classical piano. Even worse, I hated the pressure and perfectionism of performing. More than anything though, I hated practicing. My mom would set a one-hour timer on the kitchen counter for me every day for my practice time. Once the timer started, I’d practice a little, then fiddle around, wasting time to try and eek the minutes by.

 A slightly older version of me practicing before a Chopin Club performance...

A slightly older version of me practicing before a Chopin Club performance...

 
 

Once the alarm went off, I'd try to run outside or turn on a video game, but sure enough mom would find me and say that she only counted 25 minutes when I was actually "making music" so I still owed her 35 minutes of practice time -- back to the keyboard I'd go, begrudgingly.

During this period of my life, I saw learning the piano as an obligation, something that people told me I had to do because otherwise it would be "a waste of talent". I found very little joy or passion in it --  to me it was a chore. So I promised myself that as I left home and went off to college, I would never touch a piano again.

 Eighth-grade me competing in a local piano competition...

Eighth-grade me competing in a local piano competition...

I made (mostly) good on my promise during my undergraduate years and didn't touch a piano all but a few times, essentially taking a 4 year hiatus. It wasn't until after college that things started to shift for me...

Read Part 2