Photo by Jacques Nicolay

Jacques Nicolay, a junior and a mechanical engineering major at UTSA, is one of the many piano players at UTSA who blesses the ears of UTSA students (when he gets the opportunity to) with as they sit, talk and walk near the HEB ballrooms and more recently, in the Ski Lodge.

Nicolay had always wanted to do something with his piano playing skills.

“I think I am doing it right now. Some people are able to make money off of it playing at functions and professionally, but me, I just like it for fun. I am not looking to monetize it. I just do it for fun and for the enjoyment of other people,” said Nicolay.

Nicolay started playing the piano at the age of 6 or 7. It wasn’t easy and he didn’t enjoy learning, but he became very fond of it, especially when he started playing it by ear (remembering the songs without looking at the music sheets or improvising).

“Learning how to play the piano is something you have to work at for a long time,” he said. 

Nicolay loves playing theme songs from movies on the piano. His favorite piece to hear and play is Pirates of the Caribbean because of the chord progression. “It’s an addicting chord progression,” says Nicolay. He likes the grandiosity of it. He also enjoys putting his own variations to classical pieces such as Canon in D.

Although Nicolay loves playing the piano, his career goal isn’t in the field of music. He is a mechanical engineering major who hopes to one day make enough money to invest in real estate. His goal is to work no more than ten years as an engineer. He would also love to be a business motivational speaker, motivating people to start a business or invest in real estate.

“Real estate would be the way I make my family life better and public speaking would be the way I get all 7 billion people’s lives better. “

Playing the piano for UTSA students has been a great experience for Nicolay: people have clapped for him, given him money, thanked him and complimented him by saying how amazing he is.

Dalton Jacobson, a sophomore and business management major at UTSA, is one of Nicolay’s listeners. “I thought it was really cool. It was really enjoyable cause you just don’t really hear that kind of talent or someone of that kind of quality playing all the time, so I thought it was really neat to be able to hear that,” Jacobson said.

Playing the piano helps Nicolay bring people joy,  think quickly, and keeps him mentally engaged. “If you ever pick up an instrument, it will be really good experience.”

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