Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Stuck at the Recital

Luke finished playing the theme to James Bond, then to the crowd's delight, he transitioned into the jazz rendition he had created. The crowd clapped, cheering him onward as he stood from the piano and returned to his chair.

I was thrilled for him. He had worked hard on his music, honed his gift over the months and seen the results of an excellent performance. A piano recital can be stressful for young pianists as well as a teacher. I was proud of Luke for his example of excellence. I knew his performance would inspire and encourage my younger students.

Later in the program, Luke returned to the piano for his final performance of the afternoon. He had learned to play the music from "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" through diligent work. I had heard him play it flawlessly several times during rehearsals, but midway through the music his mind went blank. His eyes widened with surprise and he glanced at me for help.

I smiled and gave an encouraging nod. My students know what to do when they stumble or feel lost. I knew Luke would hear my unspoken words.   "Go to where you know what to play. You can always start over."

For seconds in the silence, Luke's hands were still, paused over the piano keys. Then his trained fingers played the beautiful music he was able to remember, the last few measures. He grinned at me. It was only the ending, but it was played with excellence. He had remembered what to do when he gets stuck and he had finished by giving his best effort.

More important than the learning of music, I want my students to grasp hold of the life skills I am able to teach them along the way. Perhaps nothing I teach Luke will ever be as important as the lesson he has learned this week:

It doesn't matter what happened in the past, how you started out. You can always start over. It only matters that you finish well.

Well done, my good and faithful student.