Eli Best: The Piano Playing Prodigy
A closer look into the musical talents of Eli Best
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Members of the HIES community may recognize Eli Best from his outstanding piano performances in chapel.
A member of the class of 2017, Best has been playing piano since the age of five. At that age, Best began taking lessons once a week for thirty minutes to an hour. However, since then, he simply teaches himself the music. Best claims, “it can take anywhere up to a month to learn a piece.” By memorizing the sheet music, Best then adds his own spin on the piece, revealing that “after [he plays]a song long enough, it’s easier to play without sheet music”. A more complex piece of “Maple Leaf Rag” by Scott Joplin happens to be his favorite.
Though his favorite instrument to play is the piano, his talent does not stop there, for Best can also play the electric guitar. In addition, he participates in the school band where he plays percussion; including the drums and the xylophone. He explains, “I came to HIES in the fifth grade and knew I wanted to play a new instrument so I talked to my music teachers but decided to play percussion because it’s similar to piano,”
But, there’s more to his story. In January of 2015, Best created a YouTube account. Here, he has uploaded the new songs he has learned, with a current queue composed of 15 songs. It all started when Best was telling a family member about playing in chapel. This family member wished that they could hear him perform, so Best began recording himself playing all of his instruments, even vocals. Best’s YouTube channel is a place for him to showcase his various talents to those not only around him but all over the world.
However, music goes deeper than playing songs in chapel and uploading videos to YouTube. For Best, “learning new music always keeps [his] mind occupied with a new challenge. [He] also love[s] when [his] playing makes people happy because it is a great feeling knowing [he has] brightened someone’s day.”
It is clear that in present times, it is often difficult for students to balance school work with sports and other extra curricular activities. As a student and Varsity Soccer player, Best is aware of these challenges and explains that, “[He does his] best to keep [his] school work above music on [his] list of priorities. As a result of this, there are some days when [he doesn’t] have enough time to play any music because of homework and soccer practice.
In spite of this, he takes advantage of days that [he’s] not busy and sometimes play[s] music for 3 or 4 hours at a time.”