In Japan, as in many countries, learning and playing the piano is still a popular extra-curriculur activity.

Some parents even buy toy pianos from the time their children are babies in order to encourage them to pursue a career in music.

However, becoming a professional pianist is a difficult path. For one thing, it requires a prodigious amount of practice.

Japanese pianist 村上裕亮 Yusuke Murakami (@yusukepiano426) posted a photo on Twitter that really gets that point across.

In 2013, he attended a summer piano seminar at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Poland, one of the most prestigious national music universities in the world.

The piano in the rehearsal room shocked Murakami.

Here's what it looked like when he saw it nine years ago:

Reproduced with permission from 村上裕亮 Yusuke Murakami (@yusukepiano426)

The piano keys are so worn out that parts of them look like they melted away, revealing the wood underneath. This is the result of the music students' daily work at the piano over years and years of practice.

According to Murakami, used pianos are installed in the practice rooms at the university.

However, the piano in the photo is a model made between 1982 and 1990.

Even if the piano was manufactured in 1982, only 31 years had passed since Murakami saw it in 2013.

Until 1989, when a ban on ivory importation went into effect, Yamaha used ivory keys on pianos like this one. While it isn't unusual for ivory keys to get worn down, it is quite unusual for them to get worn down to this extent in just three decades.

It's quite evident that the original owner, as well as the students attending the university really put the piano through its paces.

Many people were surprised by this Tweet, leaving comments such as:

  • "I thought the keys were made of sugar! You can truly say that those keys show the mark of time."
  • "So this is what it's like when you're on your way to becoming a pro. I guess there are only a handful of people who can practice on this piano. That's amazing!"
  • "Young pianists wage battle with their hearts and souls, leaving these traces of their struggle on the piano keys. I was deeply moved by this image."
  • "So this is what a piano looks like when it's played by many people. Both the piano craftsman and the piano itself must be very happy..."

This one image shows the unimaginable amount of practice that musicians such as Murakami put in to become professionals.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.