Nineteen-year-old Mrityunjay Sharma, who holds the Guinness World Record for playing the piano for a marathon, 127 hours 8 minutes 38 seconds (excluding breaks), now aims to become the fastest pianist in the world.
“The present record for hitting 765 keys a minute is held by a Hungarian named Bence Peter. I don’t want to aim too high but high enough so that the (next) record is not easily broken,” said Sharma, a student of Delhi University’s Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) who received his first piano lesson from his father at the age of three.
He says he’s not sure if the target is reachable. “But I have to make it possible and my guru tells me that I can do it,” he added.
“(Music composer) AR Rahman and my guru Sudhanshu Bahuguna have been my major inspirations, yet I believe in taking inspiration from everybody who works hard,” he said.
Sharma is fascinated by Indian singer of Pakistani origin named Adnan Sami and he stated, ” he inspires me to take up the challenge of becoming the fastest pianist”.
So, what is it that keeps him going?
“Once, I was sulking about the hot weather and then I saw a Metro labourer who was working doggedly without any complaints. I thought to myself, ‘If he can do it, why not me?'”
The hardest part in life, says Sharma, was to be patient. While preparing for the (piano marathon) record, long practice sessions used to frustrate him.
“But once I achieved the target, it felt great,” Sharma spoke about the record set on October 17, 2015. He broke the record of 103 hours, held by Polish pianist Romuald Koperski.
“Lot of things have changed after the record. Earlier, nobody showed much interest, but now people ask me about my upcoming plans,” he said.
His entire performance was recorded and sent to the Guinness Book of World Records for evaluation. Independent observers had been watching Sharma’s performance as Guinness officials weren’t able to make it to the event. Sharma described music as his life saying, “words can’t express what music means to me. I can’t survive without it, it is my breath.”
He said he becomes nervous before every performance. “But once I hit the first chord, everything else becomes negligible, the fear is gone and there is no nervousness any more”.
He recalled his first performance on stage. “I was a five-year-old kid playing the harmonium with my eyes closed. I kept repeating the same phrase for approximately 15 minutes without any realisation that my performance time was over,” he laughed, adding, “My teacher literally had to pull my hand to direct me to leave.”
He described Indian classical music as the genre with which he started his journey. “Our classical music can’t be disregarded, it is one of the major reasons why Indian culture is recognised around the whole world,” Sharma said.