By Hayati Nupus
In a music room of the Pembina Extraordinary School in South Jakarta, a 10-year-old visually impaired girl, is seen playing an instrument. She played it skillfully as if she could see the keyboard.
Allafta Hirzi Sodiq, who is also known as Zizi, was playing piano while singing to Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World.”
What makes it even more mesmerizing is that she played that song with her own arrangements. “I really love arranging songs,” she told Anadolu Agency on Friday.
Despite her limitations, she has achieved many things. Last year, Zizi earned herself a gold trophy during Asian Art Festival in Yong Siaw Toh, Singapore.
It is such a huge leap for her since hundreds of participants from 13 countries joined the event. At that time, Zizi played her own arrangement of Pinocchio soundtrack “When You Wish Upon A Star.”
She was also awarded Diamond Award at 2017 Indonesia Piano Festival and became a champion of the 2017 National Festival and Art Competition.
Earlier this month, Zizi challenged herself by participating in Asia’s Got Talent in Singapore. During the audition, she played her arrangements of Andrea Bocelli’s “Time to Say Goodbye” and Calum Scott “You Are The Reason.”
Not only that, Zizi, the daughter of Nur Afifah and Jafar Sidiq, also gets high grades in school.
Birth of piano prodigy
Nur Afifah has never thought that her newborn daughter would be blind. In her fifth month of pregnancy, Nur suddenly had excessive bleeding.
At first, the doctor predicted that her baby would not survive. Fortunately, 900-gram baby Zizi was safely born, alive and well.
As her daughter turned seven-months-old, Zizi had high fever. The doctor diagnosed it as Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). The disorder eventually lead to lifelong vision impairment.
After that, Nur fell into depression. She and her husband barely accepted their fate. For about three years, Nur locked herself in their house.
"At that time, I really wanted to die," said Nur, as she remembered those hard times.
Three years later, after reading a book written by Miyuki Inoe, Nur started to collect herself. She said that the book gave her much needed strength.
Since then, Nur made herself busy by reading books or references about developing potentials of visually impaired children, as many as she could.
Nur encouraged her daughter to learn music by letting her listened to a lot of music instrumentals.
The three-year-old Zizi became interested in playing the instruments, especially piano, that made Zizi totally invested soon after.
Nur also revealed that her daughter learned to play music instruments all by herself.
Two years later, Zizi participated in a music competition, where she earned public recognition as a blind child pianist.
At the age of 7, Zizi learned to play piano from pianist Elise Widirastri. Since then, her skill keeps improving more and more.
A story teller
From music arrangement skill to beautiful voice, Zizi really has it all.
Zizi is even good at storytelling. Recently, she won first place in Jakarta Literacy Competition. If everything goes right, she may participate in similar event in upcoming months.
Zizi also loves to learn Quran. Every day after Maghrib prayer, Zizi reads several verses of Quran and memorize them. Every Thursday night, Zizi reads Surah Yasin and pray for her family and friends.
Triyanto Murjoko, head of Pembina Extraordinary School, said he is proud of Zizi's achievements.
"Every child with disabilities has their own talents. If we truly support that, they will eventually flourish," said Murjoko.
Meanwhile, Zizi revealed that her ultimate dream is to sing “Make You Feel My Love” with British singer Adele. In order to make it happen, she pushes herself to do her best as pianist.