Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Piano Festival





It was held in the 19th century church in the upscale neighborhood. A medium sized church with a black grand piano up the small stage, was the center piece of the festival.   When we first signed up for this competition, I imagined a more festive atmosphere, not the somber and stiff columns at the sides of the church.   The ominous mood silenced the gay chatter of young children and teens testing their piano skills in the competition.

A charming lady adjudicator smoothly presided over  each one hour session for 10 candidates.   This is my 13 year old daughter 3rd piano recital, and she calmly sits in the front pew, the 9th    candidate in the Grade 3 skill level.    She has grown over the last months, and  she towers amongst the candidates, specially boys still in their pre-teen stage.   She has practiced, like all the children, the same piece for the last month or two, under the eye of her piano teacher.

The first boy was called to play, and he was impressive and confident from the initial strains of the piece.   My daughter would later tell me, she knew her chance of winning the first spot was not so good compared to the first boy.  He has set the bar very high.

The second boy was called to play, and unlike the other candidates, he held on to his music book.   He adjusted his thick rimmed glasses, and within the next seconds, we knew he was struggling with the piece.   But he never glanced at the audience composed only of parents and or guardians.   He labored with each key, as one would every tortured breath, going back a few notes if he missed it, slowly and painstakingly until he finished the piece.   No one said anything and I noticed the adjudicator not taking notes as she would normally as she gives a detailed critique at the end of the session.   She was listening, as was everyone, to every note like it was an angel playing to the golden crowns of the saints and wooden cross in the altar.

What took the 2nd boy so long to play, the third candidate finished the piece in no time.  So did all the other candidates as was expected in this festival.   Smooth and perfect notes.    At least from the audience point of view.  If we could, we would probably give a gold medal for all the children, specially the 2nd boy, for getting up there and completing the piece. 

My daughter’s performance was good but not good enough to win any medals.  Nothing like a contest to spur her competitive spirit and hunger for recognition outside the family.   She would get 2nd place the week after for another round of competition, but not this time.   We always tell her to do her best, and leave it to her to set her level and pace.     


We just want her to have a good time with the festival. I don't lecture to her on what she needs to do.   She saw the tremendous effort displayed by the 2nd boy, a special child.    No pressure, no monetary reward from us.    Except for fish and chips meal after the festival.



Written for Imperfect Prose.   This is my first time to join you ~   Nice to meet you ~

20 comments:

  1. All one can do is try their best and if they want to get better they have to find it within themselves. The second boy finished it and that is all that matters too. Nice write for prose.

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    1. Thanks Pat for the lovely words. I appreciate them ~

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  2. I've sat through piano recitals, vocal recitals, dance recitals, theatre auditions...

    I adore them, and you did a great job explaining WHY. IT isn't about the talent, exactly, with the children, it is about the effort, the learning curve, watching them learn how to cope with pressure. And to see them each time, it gets easier for them, and of course, seeing their eyes search for me when they need a confidence boost (that's the prize for me)

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    1. Thanks Margaret. I too give my daughter the thumbs up sign and smiles...all the children need to see us supporting them.

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  3. So many lessons to be found in the arts, isn't there. thank you for sharing some with us today! Being a piano teacher, this one touched my heart :) thank you!

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    1. Thanks Nikki for your lovely comments. My daughter is learning life's lessons thru her piano sessions and her teacher is a big part of that.

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  4. I think there's something satisfying seeing children determined to do their best, even if they know winning may not be possible. It's like all is well with the world, if they keep trying. :)

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    1. I like this ...doing our best, even if you know winning may not be possible. Thanks for your lovely thoughts ~

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  5. I think you illustrated that sometimes the effort is more beautiful than the finished product. We love to see people work hard to make music, we relate to that, because life is hard, and we are all (in a sense) working hard to make music...I'm glad you shared this!

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    1. If only more of us can see the beautiful effort than the finished product. Thank you for your visit.

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  6. i love that you had fish and chips. and that you praised her efforts. she'll never forget this. thanks for linking! e.

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  7. This reminds me of a marathon.
    Many run. One wins. But the one whom everyone admires and waits for with anticipation is the LAST one. He gets the most cheers and probably deserves them all.

    Sometimes the hardest time to try is when you know you will not win.

    To do it anyway ~ well, that just might be "weakness turned to strength."

    Great story!

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    1. A very meaningful line to me...the hardest time to try is when you know you will not win ~

      Thanks for sharing this ~

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  8. i will def take the fish and chips...smiles...got to love that 2nd boy too you know...it was good for your child and the others to see that...all effort should be recognized...and all talent encouraged....smiles.

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    1. Thank you for all the smiles and encouragement Brian. I appreciate it ~

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  9. enjoyed this. as long as she's having fun, too. yum, to the fish and chips!

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  10. Aww bless them all for having the courage to get up there in front of an audience and even having a go. Your daughter will do better next time if she wants to do so. Poor boy, and all power to him for not getting stage fright and running off as some do. Glad you all enjoyed it, even just her taking part is something to be proud of.

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    1. Yes I am proud of my daughter...Thanks for visit Bren ~

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Thank you for your comments and visit. I appreciate them ~