Junior’s passion for piano began at early age


Photo credit: Sydney Benson

By Michal Ruprecht, Staff Reporter

Editor’s note: This is an extended version of the Faces in the Crowd on Sexton in issue 13 of North Pointe.

Junior Grace Sexton learned to love the piano after another student performed at a recital.

Since then, she has performed at concerts, weddings and school events, and has been taking lessons since the third grade.

“Originally it was just my mom forcing my sister and I to play piano but then I’d say around sixth grade I saw one of the older students that my piano teacher taught,” Sexton said. “He was playing this really cool song and at that point he inspired me to be better at piano.”

Although she wasn’t eager at first, listening to music at an early age excited her. After realizing her talent for piano, Sexton’s mom, Filomena, noticed her daughter’s enthusiasm for playing.

“She has a passion for piano because she has been exposed to classical and jazz music all her life,” Filomena said. “Even as early as an infant she has been exposed to Beethoven and Bach.”

Becoming better comes with practice. Practicing piano allows her to relax and release her emotions.

“It’s definitely a way for me to get out emotions,” Grace said. “If I have a tough day I could just sit down at the piano and then everything flows out through my fingers onto the keys, and that’s rewarding.”

Grace believes that strict practice schedule teaches her devotion and responsibility.

Filomena thinks these virtues have many positive effects on her daughter.

“Piano has helped Grace become even more disciplined,” Filomena said. “Practicing everyday anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, especially when she doesn’t feel like it, requires commitment and dedication.”

In addition to learning piano, Grace participates in Solo and Ensemble and the Michigan Music Festival. She is usually rated in the first division and feels each competition aids in her development as a player.

Because of her passion for the instrument, she started teaching kids to play. She uses this opportunity to allow her to help others as well as learn leadership and teaching skills.

“(Teaching kids piano) definitely teaches me leadership skills because my student looks up to me,” Grace said. “It’s different because I’ve always been the student and now I’m the teacher.”

She hopes to improve her piano technique and compose her own music in the future. She plans on continuing to play piano through college and wants to minor in music.

“It’s just such a beautiful instrument,” she said. “It’s universally know but it’s a great way to get out my emotions and express myself. I don’t think I can express myself any better than through the piano.”


Check out a YouTube playlist featuring some of Sexton’s favorite pieces.