A short résumé of my musical journey
My name is Saralynn and I’m 37 years old. My husband, Benjamin and I have 4 marvelous children.
I’ve been passionate about music since I was a child and I took musical theory classes at the local music school, as well as several years of piano lessons. I was very quickly bored by playing music written by other people (Looking back, I realize now that it might have been rather pretentious on my part!) What I wanted, even as a nine-year-old, was to create! I loved to add a few extra notes to the pieces of music that I was required to play. Unfortunately that was not much to the taste of my piano teacher, who told me, “Reproduce what is written, and nothing else!” This way of thinking bothered me and I quickly ended my formal piano lessons.
My mom played classical pieces on our piano at home. Something that I loved to do was listen to her play, memorize what she was playing, then try to reproduce what I heard… In this way my musical ear was developing little by little.
Several years later (I was about 13 or so) I met a young man my age who impressed me by the way he played the piano. We were going to the same protestant church at the time. Music has a fundamental place among protestants (it was protestants who created the famous style of music now known as “Gospel.”) I watched this young man playing the piano and it was as if a lightbulb went on in my mind: that’s the way that I want to play!
He didn’t follow written notes, he improvised. He understood the fundamentals of musical theory (chords, arpeggios, etc.) but he was able to play the songs that the congregation was singing without needing to follow strict written partitions.
So I decided right then: I will play like him.
Passionate for music as I was, I quickly began to create my own melodies and accompanied songs.
When I was 16, with my first salary (I had worked for a full month that summer,) I bought myself a synthesizer (an electric keyboard)! I could then lock myself in my room for hours without having to “bother” my family every time I wanted to play.
Not long after that time I began to play the piano for church services. Even now, 20 years later, I’m still at it! Music, for me, has always been a way to connect with the Divine.
When I was 21 years old I married Benjamin. We met in Niger, where I had lived for a year. Then our children arrived, one after another: Shana, Nathan, Emmanuelle and Tim.
During this time I also completed my degree in theology (in 2006) and I began to teach protestant religion classes in the Belgian public schools. A few years later, in 2012, I received the certification needed to work as a highschool music teacher, which has allowed me to have my current position, teaching music in a highschool here in Belgium.