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The Village School
June 28, 2024

Striking the Right Note of Joy and Purpose

Striking the Right Note of Joy and Purpose - Striking the Right Note of Joy and Purpose
Striking the Right Note of Joy and Purpose
Paul N. comes alive when he plays the piano. As he presses each key, his body moves with the music. He feels each note and lives for the audience to enjoy each melody, each composition. This year he performed at Carnegie Hall, showcasing his remarkable talent at just 12 years old.

“I love playing all sorts of music. I really like composers like Chopin, but I also really enjoy playing jazz and Eurovision songs,” said Paul Naïve, a seventh grader at The Village School.


Paul started playing the piano when he was 5 years old in Bangkok where his teacher helped Paul master his craft. “My teacher makes learning fun and engaging. Her passion for music inspires me to continue to grow my skills as a piano player,” said Paul. 


Then, in February 2023 Paul’s family moved across the globe to Houston. Paul continued to play the piano. In fact, despite the 9,200-mile distance, he continued to practice with his piano teacher in Bangkok. They have virtual lessons. Recognizing his exceptional talent, his piano teacher encouraged his parents to submit a video of his performance for a prestigious competition—one that offered the chance to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York.


Just months after the video submission, Paul found himself on stage at Carnegie Hall. Among the audience members were the head of school and the director of the middle school at The Village School. “I was nervous playing before such a big audience. But once I sat down, it came naturally to me, and I continued playing my piece. Looking back now, it was a really big moment for me,” said Paul.


While performing on such a grand stage was an incredible experience, Paul was searching for a way to perform for people in his own community. Inspired by the joy he brings to his grandparents during their virtual daily performances, Paul expressed an interest in playing for the elderly. Serendipitously, the mother of two of his friends, invited Paul to perform at a nearby memory center with her sons.


“I was really excited because I had been waiting to find a way to play for the elderly,” said Paul. “I was interested in playing there because my grandpa has memory challenges, and I like to play for him.”


The following Saturday Paul and his friends performed at The Heritage on Eldridge Parkway. For one hour, Paul and his friends from The Village School played for the guests. Some guests got up and danced, while others swayed to the music and clapped. "I find joy in playing for others and listening to music is supposed to help with memory," said Paul.


As for the future, Paul is pursuing his passion for playing the piano. He plans to join The Village School orchestra next semester, while also continuing to work with his teacher in Bangkok. You can find him on Saturday afternoons playing at The Heritage on Eldridge Parkway. Sharing his gift with others brings him immense joy. Just knowing he can brighten someone’s day is music to his ears.


Paul even appeared on Houston's Fox 26 morning show to talk about his experience at Carnegie Hall play one of his favorite pieces. Watch it here.