Working her Way Up the Scale: Johanna Shin’s Piano Journey


Johanna Shin perfecting an assignment for her third period class, Music Theory with Ms. Spiro. (Photo by Charlotte Fetters)

In Wilde Lake’s piano class one student in particular shines– Johanna Shin. Since age five, Johanna has been playing the piano. Now, practicing every day, she finds herself representing Wilde Lake’s finest artists.

Johanna credits the start to her piano journey to her older brother. “Since he is five years older than me, I just wanted to copy what he did,” she said, “I just joined the lessons that he was doing.”

Johanna says the classes she was placed in gave her the foundation to make the art her own. After six years of lessons, she began to take the stage. “By fifth grade it was more to the level of performing,” she said. 

In kindergarten Johanna started to dedicate herself to the piano.  “I started with a private instructor,” says Johanna. 

She says her teacher helped her. “She was such a committed teacher. I think her passion for music kept me in lessons. She wanted to help me, so I decided to help myself.”

In eighth and ninth grade, Johanna decided to take a step back from the piano as her passion began to fade. “It was a landmark for me. I realized I can’t rely on a teacher to tell me to play song after song.”

However, after the intermission, Johanna decided to pick up piano once more. This time, she found herself looking deeper into the art. 

“I also wanted to learn how to add cool embellishments to my piano playing,” says Johanna. “Instead of simple chord progressions, you improvise and add these extra melodic elements to spice it up.”

With time her talent grew. After some time, something clicked. Around 9th or 10th grade she came to appreciate the piano again. She took the craft and made it her own. “There are so many cool things you can do with a piano. There are so many different genres and styles.”

Johanna sees the piano as a hobby that she enjoys. “My favorite part about piano is how versatile it is. With enough practice and the right music you can make something really complex.”

Now, she is enrolled in Music Theory class at Wilde Lake, allowing her to pursue her art as her own. “I’ve always been interested in learning the funky sounding chords. It’s so cool how people can identify a chord and keep using it,” she said. 

Johanna is one of the most talented piano players in Wilde Lake, according to Ms. Spiro. Johanna has a genuine appreciation for piano and has a bright future ahead of her.