Piano Conquest

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

It was a crisp, clear January day in Park Ridge, New Jersey, a few miles from the middle of nowhere. Before me stood an imposing sight: Schubert’s Impromptu. With a length of fourteen pages and a required foundation of meticulous technical skills, this composition would be a challenge for even the best pianist. And I was no pianist; I was a rhythmically challenged, stubby-fingered sixteen-year old girl. Nonetheless, I began the daunting process of sight-reading.

Black, white, black again. The notes were passing by with unexpected ease – but no! I meant to play A flat, C sharp, B natural, and E sharp; I had underestimated these seamlessly placed notes. My teacher urged me on. I felt utterly incompetent. The melody was exhausting but breathtaking. My fingers began to stiffen; my forearms tingled with pain, and my head was waiting to explode. I soon began to regret that I had chosen Schubert’s Impromptu over Bach’s Prelude. As I pushed forward, measure after measure passed me by. I stopped to inhale deeply, in a hopeful attempt to exhale my frustration and mistakes and inhale even the smallest trace of my teacher’s perfected skills. “Schubert isn’t for everyone,” she consoled. I curtly responded that I would be fine and proceeded...

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