Her Father was an excellent pianist. He could play classical and jazz very well. He used to be a music teacher and as a child he gave her piano lessons. She learned the C Major Scale and that’s pretty much it.
Last year she decided she wanted to study piano. First she had to get a piano. So she looked up on Facebook Marketplace and entered Free Pianos. She found a local church that was getting rid of a piano and had it delivered.
She made a vow that she was going to practice daily. She was going to be how she was as a child when she would run away from the piano so she could play.
She had to learn how to read music. So she got the NoteSpeller book and started working on the treble clef and eventually the bass clef. She started practicing scales and simple piano exercises. She didn’t practice for hours and hours per day but she just kept going over sight reading. She did get flash cards and also an App on her phone to help her learn the notes. The app is called Tenuto.
After months of practice she was able to perform this piece which she dedicates to her father, John DeDios who passed away on July 3, 2020 at the age of 85.
This isn’t a perfect performance. It’s good enough.
Valeria is keeping it going during the pandemic of 2020. She enjoys singing, dancing and playing piano. She’s a Health and Wellness Coach that started a podcast. Thanks for support and encouragement during this difficult time.
Recently I have been receiving many questions about my experience with the piano.
My piano playing started as a child. We used to have a Baby Grand Piano, as my father was a pianist and a music teacher. He gave me lessons as a child around age 6. But I would play and then run around. He couldn’t get me to sit still and play. I did learn the C major scale and I had also been exposed to the treble clef. Not that I really knew how to read music but I knew FACE and EGBDF as the acronyms for the music notes. So I had been exposed to the piano prior to my first music lesson back in August of 2019.
I was already taking voice lessons but I decided to take up piano because I really wanted to develop my brain a little more. I felt that piano playing would keep me very engaged. But before I could actually take lessons, I had to get a piano.
How To Get a Free Piano
So I did what every unsure piano student does and sees if I can get a free piano. I found on-line it’s easy to find one but you have to get it back to your place. After I was able to have it delivered, I started taking piano lessons. I had to learn the treble clef and the bass clef. I think that makes the piano a little more difficult because of that but in any case I started to learn the treble clef first and just really drilling notes. I got flash cards and then I found an app that helped. My friend told me about it but it’s called Tenuto (I’m unaffiliated with them). And that really helped quite a bit.
But more than anything you just have to get to know the keys on the piano and then just start playing. Doing scales and playing very simple songs on one hand and then both.
I decided I wanted to learn how to play a piece by JS Bach because I didn’t care for the music in the beginning piano books. So I researched beginner pieces of music by JS Bach and Prelude 1 in C Major came up as a good piece for a beginner.
I really do enjoy playing the piano and I recommend it for everyone. There are many resources on line. The thing I like about it is that you can go up to a piano and then start tapping keys and making the most beautiful sound. It’s like, “How did that happen?” And then you get hooked on music and you want to hear that sound again. It’s just a wonderful feeling to play music.
Looking back now of course I wish I had studied the piano as a child but can’t go back now can we?
She rushed to visit her cousin when she learned about the accident. She knew her cousin would be ok so she decided to take her portable keyboard to the hospital to visit. She showed him the keyboard and right away he started playing a melody that sounded familiar. He said, “Let me play this one I remember.” His fingers were much to big for the childish keyboard. but the piece was by composer Johann Sebastian Bach and it was Prelude in C Major. Then it dawned on her that was the exact piece she had been working on with her music teacher.
What were the odds that he would pick the same piece of music? It wasn’t until later that she realized that this was some kind of synchronicity. Or it could have been pure coincidence. But deep in her heart she knew it was not coincidence it was a sign to show how strong their bond is. It doesn’t matter if you have not seen family for months or years, the bond is still there and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
It was a sign to continue to study. It was a sign to realize that it doesn’t matter if you don’t see each other frequently the bond is still there. It was a reminder of how much she loved him. It was a sign of hope. It was a reminder to keep practicing. It was a beautiful moment she would cherish always.
Valeria Star began preparation for this performance in August 2018. Alina, her Maestra presented it to her and she instantly liked it. At first she only worked on the English version but then later decided to add the French version to the beginning of the song.
The event was the 15th anniversary of Alina’s Music Studio and Alina had put so much time and thought into her event. It was a fundraiser and it was called Classics and Super Heros. Alina who is a violinist and actually a multi-media artist because she can, sing, dance, play violin, conduct and she did the media displays. You know the back drop behind all the singers. She did that too.
Valeria does not speak French so she relied on YouTube videos and then she found out that she did not have the correct pronunciation after all . So it turned out that her friend Farrah who coincidentally was a French Major at University of Hawaii was able to coach her and this was the end result. Alina also provided correct pronunciation but you know friends always come through for you in the end.
People asked Valeria how she rehearsed the crying. “It was not rehearsed at all.” Valeria said, “I wasn’t nervous to perform until I went out on stage. As soon as walked out it was pitch black in the audience and then I started to feel nervous and I could feel my stomach start shaking. Camille, the Pianist was getting set up and I instantly engaged my entire core and I knew I had to make it through the song. My legs were literally trembling. Towards the end, I just lost it. I thought about my brother, Chris who passed away in 2006. When I sang, “Since you went away, the days grew long” I thought of Chris and by the time I got to “But I miss you most of all, that’s when I couldn’t hold it together anymore.”
As soon as she came off stage her fellow singers and musicians ran to meet her and hug her and give Valeria a lot of support. One violinist just said, “I was so nervous I couldn’t feel my hands. They were numb.” And they hugged her. It really made Valeria feel so much better. “These teenage musicians were so kind and supportive of me during a scary time. It’s not everyday you cry in front of people. And how people treat you after you cry is even more important.” These musicians had such compassion. It was really beautiful to see and it gives me much hope about humanity.”
When Valeria saw Alina she said, “I wasn’t able to finish the song.” Alina said without blinking an eye. The woman who literally does not miss a beat or a breath or a timing, said, “You felt the passion of the music and expressed it.” And then she ran off to take a picture with DeadPoole. Valeria knew it would be OK…