by Stephen Yu

As a teenage boy, I have derived much inspiration from schoolteachers, musicians and friends. Out of all of them, the one who has inspired me the most is my cello teacher, Ruslan Biryukov. Mr. Biryukov is a unique teacher. Not only has he taught me how to play the cello, he has also taught me how to explore the meaning of music. He always describes music with enthusiasm, passion, and humor. Each lesson gets more and more intense.

No matter what pieces Mr. Biryukov plays, he always plays with the fullest extent of passion. His playing style is very artistic and flawless--and he always has the patience to guide me through each new piece. But above all, I revere him for always giving me challenging pieces. Despite how difficult the piece looks on first contact, I always manage to get the hang of the piece in the end and I appreciate him for challenging me. Sometimes I would think about giving up on a new piece and opt for an easier one. But whenever I would go to my private lesson with Mr. Biryukov, he will always inspire me to practice more and to not give up. Mr. Biryukov has shown me that hard work and determination will always pay off in the end, and that giving up hopelessly will take me nowhere. He has taught me to rise above the influence. From his teachings, I have learned that music isn't just about the notes, but about the harmony that is encased in it. He taught me to enjoy music, which is really important in playing any kind of instrument. Without the enjoyment, playing the cello would be pointless and the existence of music even more.

Whenever I have a daily life problem, I would consult with Mr. Biryukov and ask him for help, and he would always help me overcome it. Whenever I go to his lessons, I would leave feeling that I have not only learned something new about the cello, but also experienced a new perception of life. As a teacher, Mr. Biryukov has shown me how to deal with certain situations, which will also help me deal with future ones. Without him, I would have never realized the excitement, the sadness and the happiness in each song.