The secret is out: dental school is stressful. Numerous tests, practicals, and lab work are just a few of the things that take up the bulk of a dental student’s time. But amidst all the stress, students at UAB SOD still manage to find time for activities to distress and unwind. This week we caught up with D1 Rick Rampi to find out how he makes time for playing the piano during a crazy time for the D1 class.
Rick has been playing music for quite some time now and can play multiple instruments including the guitar and drums. He started playing piano during his junior year of college while living with his friend, Nick. “I was really inspired by Nick’s passion for the piano,” says Rick, “and I started learning how to play shortly after that.” Unfortunately, Nick passed away while Rick was in college but Rick was able to play an original song of Nick’s at his funeral.
Unlike most pianist who learn to play by reading music, Rick learns a new song by rote only. That is, he listens to the song and plays the notes he hears back on the piano. “I love finding new songs and even write a few of my own. I also dabble in mixing music.”
Rick recently performed in two acts in the school’s annual Variety Show which he says is one of his favorite memories of playing the piano. “My ultimate goal is to write a song for a movie; even if it’s a small movie no one’s heard of!” Rick hinted that something might already be in the works to make this goal a reality but he could not confirm anything right now.
Now the question everyone’s wondering about; how does Rick have time to play the piano during spring semester of D1 year, a notoriously difficult semester. “Unfortunately I have not gotten to play as much as I’d like this semester,” says Rick. “It’s been a while because of the crazy busy schedule we’ve had recently. I just try to play whenever I can and use it as a break from studying. I have a small piano in my apartment that I like to fiddle around on. I have to be careful though because I lose track of time easily and sometimes end up playing for hours.”
For those of you wanting to take on learning the piano, Rick’s advice is simply practice. “Just play a little bit every day and you will get better and better.” It is always great to see students like Rick making time for the things outside of school that make them happy. Hopefully, we will get to see him perform again at next year’s variety show as I am sure he will continue get better and better while he plays at home during his study breaks. Are you ready to learn how to play piano?
Author: Kelsey Gwin, Class of 2021