Hello. My name is Sergeant Natalia Lerner, and I am a musician in the Canadian Armed Forces. I am part Central Band and my position is that of a pianist and cymbal player. So my principal instrument is piano and my secondary instrument is cymbals.
I am a first-generation Canadian. My family's history begins in Latvia. And Latvia has very strong musical traditions. So as a child, I was surrounded by all those musical experiences. And when I turned 6 years old, my parents put me in music school and I chose piano as main instrument. So I could say that I am a classically trained pianist. When it was my time to choose a musical instrument, I wanted to be just like my older sister. She played violin. I listened to her practicing. So naturally, I wanted to play violin as well. But my parents gave me a late ultimatum. They said: "One violin in this family would me more than enough." And I chose piano and I never regretted it.
Life was not easy in Latvia, due to different reasons: political, economical... And my family left Latvia during the time of great uncertainties. Many people were seeking refuge in different countries. And in my case, in the case of my family, we were very fortunate that Canada accepted us with open arms.
Central Band is participating in a variety of musical events. We play for the Prime Minister, the Governor General. We also support our troops outside of Canada. This summer, we are getting ready for our exciting project: Central Band is being deployed to Latvia. I will have a chance to be with my teammates there and share our culture with Latvians. I am pretty sure that it will be an experience that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. It is my first time since I left Latvia. And I am sure I will be overwhelmed by a variety of emotions.
For me, piano is my preferred instrument. It is my voice, it is my way of self-expression. As a musician, you are always growing, you are always evolving. You study your whole life. You never stop discovering something new. So for me, music represents that: the eternal source of knowledge.