I started playing piano in third grade. A friend came over and played me a few songs, and taught me how to play one. I was so ecstatic! I told my parents I really wanted to learn how to play, so they hired the church pianist to teach me. She was wonderful! I learned the basics of piano, and how to laugh at myself when I made mistakes. When she moved to Alaska, I had a new teacher. I learned even more technique, including how to memorize several songs. Each summer she had a competition to see which students could memorize the most songs. The prize was a bust of a famous classical composer. That challenge was all I needed! I dove into the music, played hard, and won every year.
Then, as a teenager, I had a new piano teacher. She was rigorous and strict, pushing me to always play at my best. I loved her, I hated her. I appreciated how she knew how to push me, I learned so much. This was a time that I was most involved in music, playing at church, as the accompaniment in the choirs at school, and in competitions with my piano teacher. At this point, I found solace and peace when playing the piano, I found myself – and made it a priority in my life.
The teenage rebellion showed up around the age of 13-14. After so many years of classically trained piano lessons, I yearned for more freedom and expression in music. I decided that if I wrote my own music, then my teacher couldn’t tell me how to play it – because it was my own creation. So I started composing. Once she heard my songs, she said, “oh, this is what you like?” and brought me music by David Lanz. I fell in love with new age music! Yes, this is the music I want to play! I continued writing music over the years, honing my skills, nurturing my creativity, my own collection building. When asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I said, “maybe a doctor – I want to help people be well.” The response I got was, “music is healing.”
I got married at 19, and played piano at local churches during my lunch break at work since I didn’t own my own piano. I turned down several offers to play for others, I somehow felt like playing my music was too vulnerable. This went on for almost ten years. The struggle to feel safe with my music, and yet feeling a pull, a drive to share what was inside. At age 28, I went to massage school, yearning to touch others lives in a positive way. Music kept knocking at my heart’s door. In the middle of the program, I entered a harrowing time: a divorce, a painful flare up of Crohn’s (an autoimmune condition), full time work, and finals. So I returned to music. And found healing. By the time I graduated massage school, I had moved four times, Crohn’s was gone, I had met David Lanz (a legendary solo piano composer), and found my recording studio, Piano Haven in Seattle. I embarked on my secret dream I’d had for years: record my own piano CD.
My first album “Shining True” was released in November 2010, and is available on iTunes, Whisperings, Spotify, SkyFm, LastFM, Rhapsody, Solopiano.com, Rdio, iHeart radio, and Pandora (make your Amy Janelle Station by clicking HERE). I have sheet music available for download. Zone Music Reporter nominated this album for “New Artist of the Year.”
I moved to Sedona, Arizona in 2012, and composed lots of new music. My second album, “A New Direction” was released in January 2014. All of my adventures, challenges, and celebrations have been recorded into music. I am excited to announce that Whisperings Solo Piano Radio nominated this album for “Album of the Year!”
I’m so grateful for all the connections I’ve made, for the healing I’ve found, and feel drawn to share this with you. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy what you hear, and find deep healing in your own life.
Much love and many blessings,
~ Amy Janelle