Brothers David and Evan Brezicki are piano students at Masterworks School of the Arts in Davidson. To hear them play, however, one would never guess their ages.
David is 11 and Evan is 9, but their level of performance at the keyboard belies their ages.
Both boys attend the Community School of Davidson, a charter school, where Evan is in third grade and David is in fifth grade. Each of the boys began piano studies at the age of 5.
“Their first teacher, Valerie Kasmir with Lessons at the Lake, was passionate and loving about teaching music to the boys,” said their mother, Gayle. “She was an ideal beginning piano teacher.”
They continued their studies at Masterworks because it offered more advanced instruction and allowed them opportunities to perform in public, their father, Paul, said.
An urgent care physician with Carolinas Health Care System, Paul is an accomplished musician himself. In addition to the accordion, which he began studying at age 7, he is a self-described semi-pro on the electric bass, playing in a band called Marcus Kearns Transfusion.
Gayle, a professional photographer and student of occupational therapy, does not play an instrument but has strong feelings about the value of musical education.
“I can’t imagine a life without music,” she said. “Music and the arts are an essential part of living. It’s the universal language. The ability to make music and share it with others unites us and brings people together.”
David’s interest in the piano began when he was 5 and heard a performance at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. “I thought that sounded like a cool instrument and I wanted to be able to play it,” he said.
“It was real easy at first,” he added, “but then after a year or so it got harder. I wanted to quit but my dad encouraged me to continue.”
As David’s dad said, “My wife and I both felt that the piano studies were an essential part of the boys’ education. They weren’t going to quit school and they weren’t going to quit piano.”
David said he was mad when he was told he couldn’t quit. “But after a while it became smooth and happy. Now I really love it. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and I feel that I might be able to inspire other people to play as well.”
Evan, who began his music studies because he wanted to be able to play as well as his brother, also wanted to quit after two years. “My dad told me I couldn’t quit until I was 18,” he said.
Although there was no piano in the Brezicki household when David began his studies, he practices on an electronic keyboard. When Evan began his own studies, Gayle and Paul decided it was time to buy the boys a piano.
Persistence at the piano has paid off. “Evan would come home from his lesson at Masterworks and rush into the house to begin working on his newly assigned pieces,” said Paul.
Their instructor at Masterworks, David Uible, said “both boys have remarkable potential for future development.” He noted Evan has “perfect pitch.”
“He can actually tell you what note you sneeze on, and he has the ability to reproduce pieces that he has heard one time.
“David has a different set of abilities that enable him to learn music at a very fast pace and to play it at incredible speeds,” Uible said.
With both boys playing the piano, the dynamics between them are interesting. “I like to listen to Evan play because I like the pieces he plays and I think I might like to learn them myself,” David said.
“Sometimes I like to learn a piece David is playing too,” Evan added.
They have played duets a few times, with mixed results. “Sometimes it works out,” said Evan. “And sometimes it doesn’t,” added David.
David, who is particularly fond of George Gershwin and Johannes Brahms, has composed music himself. “I was listening to ‘Take Five’ by Dave Brubeck, and there was an improv jazz section. I decided that I could play around with that and create some new variations.”
Evan’s favorite composers include Beethoven and Mozart. He does not think he will reach a point where he wants to stop studying the piano. “I would like to play professionally with an ensemble or a small orchestra,” he said. As for David, he said, “I might like to teach piano one day, but I’d also like to design video games.”
Both David and Evan enjoy listening to modern music, including rap and hip-hop. And with each of the boys practicing a minimum of one hour a day, it’s clear the Brezicki household is never lacking for music.
Bruce Dunbridge is a freelance writer. Have a story idea you’d like to suggest? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.