Printer Friendly

Keys to success.

Byline: Josephine Woolington The Register-Guard

Lauren Esrig and Zachary Esrig have an unspoken rule: They never play the same song on the piano.

The 18-year-old twins have played piano since first grade. The rule helps them prevent any fallout as a result of sibling rivalry.

"I started playing a piece one time that Lauren was working on," Zachary recalled. "She came running down the stairs when she heard it and was yelling, 'Stop! Stop! That's my song!' "

The siblings are two of three students in Eugene who passed the highest level in a prestigious statewide piano examination last month. The twins will graduate today from South Eugene High School, where they are both part of the Eugene International High School and French Immersion programs.

Their straight A's, fluency in French, piano proficiency and rsums full of school and community involvement has helped them land scholarships to attend college in the fall. But while they say they don't see themselves ever not playing the piano, neither is planning to study music.

Lauren, who hopes to become a doctor, will study neuroscience and French at the University of Southern California. Zachary will attend Stanford University with tentative plans to major in economics and mathematics.

Although he doesn't know yet what he wants to do after college, he expects he'll go into business and possibly work in the technology mecca of Silicon Valley.

"I'm hoping me and my dorm mates can start the next Snapchat or Tumblr," he said, referring to two popular social media tools. "But we'll see."

Attending college will mark the first time in 13 years that the classically trained pianists won't have weekly piano lessons with teacher Delores Tiktin, president of the Oregon Music Teachers Association's Eugene district.

"I'm going to miss them very much," Tiktin said. "They've been a big part of my life."

She said she was pleased when she learned the siblings each made sure their dormitories have a piano.

The piano has been a way for the Esrigs to escape from the other parts of their busy schedules. Lauren has played water polo, soccer and basketball during high school; Zachary played parts in several school musicals and was a member of Oregon Thespians, a local chapter of the International Thespian Society for high schoolers.

The siblings have also performed piano duets together in statewide competitions and won first in a regional competition playing in a trio with Grant Crider-Phillips, another South Eugene High School pianist.

The twins say they practice about an hour a day. Sometimes, they'd practice before school for 30 minutes, and then another 30 minutes after school. Or, they'll just play piano to take a break from studying.

"Lauren used to do her math homework in the living room," their mother, Kim Esrig, said. "If she came across something difficult, she'd get up, go to the piano and play for a few minutes. Then she'd go back to her homework."

With even more rigorous academic schedules next fall, the siblings say they'll likely continue to turn to the black and white keys for relief.

"It's relaxing," Zachary said. "It's a way for me to take my mind off school work and just decompress."

The pianists gravitate toward pieces by French composers, especially Claude Debussy. Lauren chose Debussy's "Clair de Lune" as one of the four pieces she played at the Oregon Music Teachers Association piano examination last month. The examination, called Syllabus, also tests participants on music theory, sight reading, rhythm reading and technical skills such as playing scales and chord progressions.

The siblings say they've motivated each other to become better piano players.

"We're both competitive people," Lauren said.

"We push each other," Zachary added. "If I hear Lauren playing a piece that she has down, it makes me think, 'OK. I need to practice now.' "

Zachary said watching older students who would play before his lessons in Tiktin's piano studio, and then leave with three-ring binders stuffed with sheet music, also motivated him. Now, he and Lauren have binders filled with their repertoire.

During college, Lauren said she wants to learn more contemporary songs while also working on classical pieces. Zachary hopes to take private lessons and be a part of a musical at the university.

He also may break his sister's monopoly on Debussy's "Clair de Lune."

"I'll miss her," he said. "But now I'll be able to learn her songs."
COPYRIGHT 2013 The Register Guard
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Eugene School District
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 8, 2013
Previous Article:Churchill graduate passes top-level piano test.
Next Article:Celebrating a pioneer.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters