If you’ve ever taken a stroll through Montgomery Catholic’s Dolly Barranco Center during the high school’s break time or during 7th period, you may have heard what sounds like a virtuoso piano concert taking place. In fact, it is sophomore Myles Jordan, who has been honing his piano skills for the past nine years. Remarkably, until about a year ago, he had played only by ear. Able to pick out the subtleties of the tunes he hears, Myles can imitate almost any song with perfect accuracy.
“Starting when I was 7 years old, I would listen to recordings of Mozart, Bach, and Chopin, pick out the melodies, and then go from there,” Myles said about his ability. “I would listen to the pieces over and over and build the songs from what I heard.”
Being completely self-taught and having never read sheet music before, it was only after reading about the journey of world-renowned concert pianist Lang Lang that Myles sought music lessons. He says that now, instead of just imitating what he hears, reading a score gives him insight into what the composer was aiming to do, and he feels more of a connection to each piece he plays. Also, because he does not need to hear the songs beforehand, a world of new options has opened for him.
“I like to play obscure composers, mainly because I enjoy the challenge, but also because there are fewer expectations from the audience for it to sound like a recording they’ve already heard,” Myles said. “I have an opportunity to make it my own and interpret it the way I want to.” One such tune is Étincelles (French for “sparks”) by Moritz Moszkowski, which he practices often while at school. He hopes that by playing lesser-known composers he can also bring more awareness of them to a broader audience.
Myles recently performed at his debut concert at Frazer Memorial Methodist Church earlier in January, and now that he has had a taste of the stage he looks forward to more performances. He hopes to be able to hold a solo concert for the Montgomery Catholic community, as well act as an accompanist for other musicians and vocalists.
Although graduation is still a few years away, Myles is certain about what his future holds. “I want to eventually get my doctorate in piano performance and pedagogy,” he said without hesitation. “I want to teach and develop other talented piano players. I want to inspire others in the way that my teachers have inspired me. This is my spark, my passion. This is what I love to do the most in the world.”