My Piano Journey

Karina aka Destiny, “My piano journey”

You won’t be surprised to read that the piano is a very important instrument in the music world as it is one of the oldest and most versatile instruments.  It’s used for performing jazz, classical music, pop songs, and many other genres.  However, what might surprise you is that we (Karina and Adel) both began playing the piano several years after taking up the harp.

The start of our piano journey is quite funny! It was our wonderful harp teacher, who suggested it as a hands-on approach to learning about the theory of all musical instruments.  Then our manager enticed us to move from Scotland to England by buying a beaten up old upright piano from Gumtree – we don’t think this would wash now!  However, at the time we were so excited when it arrived and over many years it become a faithful friend, seeing us through all our grades and exams. 

When we could upgrade, we travelled to Bonner’s Musical Instrument Specialist Store https://www.bonnersmusic.co.uk and both chose a digital Roland FP90 piano https://www.roland.com/uk/products/fp_series/fp-90/. The idea was, that Karina could take it out for performing and get an amazing sound. 

We both have amusing stories to tell growing up learning, rehearsing and practicing for exams. Karina reminisces, “I have been caught several times whilst ‘experimenting’ on the stage piano with sound effects and improvising on synth pads, instead of rehearsing for my exams. When I was younger, it just seemed far more fun, than playing one bar of Beethoven for half an hour! I remember one time when I was playing on an ‘echo synth pad’, my sister and the other half of 2 Of Harps sneaked up behind me and lifted my headphones up off my ears! Let’s say, it wasn’t Mozart or Beethoven music which she heard! 

Karina continued, “All through my childhood I have loved writing my own music, and the piano allowed for creativity in my composing.  It inspired me to experiment and push the boundaries.  It also was the piano I practiced on for my final exam – the Diploma, which enabled me to become an Associate of the Royal Schools of Music https://gb.abrsm.org/en/our-exams/diplomas/music-performance/arsm-associate-of-the-royal-schools-of-music/.”

Karina wants to share the music she really loves, and both the piano and harp have a special place in her heart.  She aims to make music ‘a cool and modern thing to do’; this reflected in the style of music she chooses to perform.   She especially enjoys playing acoustic covers of pop songs and timeless classics.  Karina says, “Playing the piano has been a passion of mine since I started it all those years ago and has a very special place in my heart.  I love the way that every piano is unique, has a kind of character and needs to be played slightly differently, to really get the personality of the instrument through.”  

One of her favourite venues to play the piano at is Port Lympne Reserve and Hotel https://www.aspinallfoundation.org/port-lympne/, as she finds the space and acoustics very inspiring.  Over the years nobility and politicians such as Sir Winston Churchill and Sir Stephen Priestly have played the piano in the exact same spot as Karina plays today.  Incidentally when Port Lympne was owned by Sir Philip Sassoon the Mansion also played host to well-known figures such as the comedian, silent actor and composer – Charlie Chaplin.  Royalty has also walked through the hallways, Edward, the Prince of Wales spent time at this home partying.  These connections help make it a hotspot and attraction to tourists and is now at the heart of Port Lympne Safari Park https://www.aspinallfoundation.org/port-lympne/.  This mansion clearly shows the opulence of the roaring twenties and has artfully been restored to its former glory. 

Karina adds, “I find it amazing to be in the hotel sharing my music, like many other people before me.  I love the fact that all my hard work has paid off and other people can enjoy what I do.”  Karina likes the placement of the piano, underneath the beautiful stone staircase.  The alcove which the piano is placed in also has a couple of bronze bears placed at the front of it, showing the influence that the safari has had on the mansion.  The paintings around the piano also add a very special feel and show exactly what is in store if you stay at the hotel. 

Karina has had lots of opportunities in her career and has been hired to play in many prestigious venues.  She performs locally for weddings and private events.  Her clients include the Freemasonry and other prestigious event organisers.  She adds, “One of the highlights of my career, as a pianist, was playing on the cruise ship Queen Mary II during a transatlantic crossing.  The piano was a stunning Steinway grand* which is a rarity to get the opportunity to play on – unless of course you are a famous pianist such as Yiruma or Einaudi.  It felt like a very surreal and beautiful experience, playing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with not another ship or land in sight.” 

Karina continued, “Thanks to the support that I have received from my family and teachers my piano music has come a long way since I started first tickling the keys and not wanting to practice.  Playing the piano has helped make me the musician I am today and has helped me improve my musical skill set.  It has enabled me to play all different genres with ease and allowed me to experiment with the style of music that I wish to play.  The piano has become far more to me, than just a way to learn the theory behind music and this instrument is the key to me moving forward with my music career.  I now want to make sure that people can enjoy what I have learnt over the years.  And finally, another perk of playing this amazing instrument, is that I get to meet lovely people and go to some amazing wedding and event venues to perform on pianos across the country.”      

If you want to hear Karina play, follow us on our Facebook Page for upcoming events. www.facebook.com/2ofharps 

* The STEINWAY grand is the gold standard of musical instruments, representing over 160 years of dedication to craftsmanship and uncompromised expression. It is for these reasons that over 19 out of 20 concert pianists choose the STEINWAY grand piano — and why the instrument remains at the heart of cultured homes the world over – https://www.steinway.com/pianos/steinway/grand

Many thanks to Fleur Challis Photography for the images and Visual Line for the videography.

Leave a Reply