CONTRIBUTED BY SANDER SOROK
Taking his seat before the piano, a rush of adrenaline runs through his body. He gives the audience a confident look before he turns to the piano and loses himself in the music.
Junior Nick Anmahian has cultivated a passion for music and playing the piano. Anmahian’s interest in playing the piano began when he was given a keyboard at the age of four.
“My dad decided that I should take piano lessons. I had one lesson and there was a piano sale down at the Boston Symphony,” Anmahian said. “We were just going to look and then we ended up bringing home a baby grand that day. I had only one lesson and that was a risk, but it was worth it.”
Anmahian is part of a band called The Apostrophes. He and his bandmates, seniors Jason Altshuler and Jack Lewitt and junior Isaiah Ives, often go to the Brookline Teen Center to practice. The band has performed at two music festivals so far: Yes Fest and another concert at the teen center earlier this spring.
Although playing alone allows him to be in control of the music, Anmahian also enjoys playing with a group. When it comes to performing with his band, Anmahian wants the audience to enjoy the band’s performance and music as much as he enjoys playing it.
“But there is nothing more satisfying and there’s nothing that teaches you more than playing in a group of people that are as competent or more competent than you are,” Anmahian said.
According to Ives, Anmahian has grown a lot more confident in playing the piano and has become willing to take more risks, making it a pleasure to work with him.
“It’s always very creative. There’s always so much going on and it’s so densely packed it takes awhile for your brain to work it out what you just heard,” Ives said. “He loves to mold things together and you never know what’s going to happen.”
Music teacher Carolyn Castellano has taught Anmahian in three different classes: Concert Band, Music Collective and Jazz Rock Ensemble.
“He has a real joy about playing,” said Castellano.
According to Castellano, she enjoys his playing, and is excited to see his improvement in his composition skills.
“He’s really good at arrangement, so I would like him to get even better at that in terms of being able to articulate what he hears in his head,” Castellano said.
A specific piece that Anmahian has played that helped him realize something about himself was a jazz standard called “Bemsha Swing.”
After his performance of “Bemsha Swing,” Anmahian realized being nervous can have a negative influence on the performance.
“95 percent of a good performance is your confidence and your actual performance,” Anmahian said. “When you present yourself as really into what you’re doing, there are no wrong notes, so I learned a lot about my own playing and what I like to do.”
The song helped expand his mindset and it allowed him to appreciate more diverse music.
Before a performance, Anmahian is both nervous and excited.
“I always get a little bit nervous I can feel myself feeling a little shaky or like butterflies,” Anmahian said. “But once I’m up there there is just so much adrenaline that I get into that state of mind like I feel it’s over in 2 seconds even if the piece can be 14 pages long. It just comes out.”
For Anmahian, playing piano is a form of communication.
“I love playing piano because it is the most expressive form of art, it’s a universal language that everyone can understand,” he said. “There’s nothing like music filled with real, raw, live human energy that brings people together, and really opens up your own mind.”