Lesson Well Learned

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The black and white keys mesmerized me, as always. They were of another ancestry - Steinway – different from the Yamaha I owned; but as I sat on the meticulously handcrafted ebony bench, I felt at home. My hands floated effortlessly upward, and my fingers landed in their proper positions. A single twitch of my left pinky began the piece, and I filled Weill Recital Hall with one of Chopin’s melodious legacies. The dynamics were ideally executed, and the notes played with great precision; but as my fingers flew over the keys, my memory became foggy. As instantaneously as a sharp bee sting, my hands ceased all movement and my mind turned blank.

It had been a busier week than usual, and I had convinced myself that a few days without Chopin would be simple to recover from. After all, I considered myself highly proficient with the piece. Those few days turned into a week, and soon it was the day before the performance—but I had played through the song only a handful of times. I assured myself that it would not help to worry, and that practicing a few hours before the concert would be more than sufficient. In retrospect, I wish I knew that what goes around comes around, and by not practicing I was only putting my satisfaction with...

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