Yesterday, as I scurried into my piano lesson just a little bit late, I was frantically going through my Sonata in my head; I had to play it memorized just moments after entering.
Upon walking in the room, I beheld my teacher, Luke, sitting lazily in his chair with his eyes closed.
I cleared my throat, said a quick "Hello", and plopped down on the bench. My hands quickly turned to ice as I fumbled through my backpack to find my music. I handed it to Luke with shaking hands. (Why on earth was I so nervous? I had practiced my little heart out).
I positioned my self, placed my hands over the starting notes, took a deep breath, leaned in...
"Wait." he said.
Why? I was all ready! Let me get this over with, please!
Then some mysterious, unidentifiable music met my ears. I was so frazzled and disoriented, my first thought was that it was coming through the ceiling.
"Just listen." He whispered, clearly mesmerized by it's melodious sound.
It was then that I realized it was coming from the CD player on his desk. It was a female opera singer, vocalizing in some language I didn't recognize. Probably Italian.
He walked over to the closed door, opened it just a crack, turned of the lights and said again, "Just close your eyes and listen. It'll help you get into the mood."
I followed his instructions, and I realized that it was truly, and heartbreakingly, beautiful.
After the aria ended with an amazingly long, impossibly soft, and incredibly high note, he turned the lights back on and bade me play my Sonata.
I will admit, I was much calmer at this point. But my hands were still glaciers as I turned back to the keys and began my song.
Surprisingly, it went magnificently. I was positively beaming when I turned back to hear his thoughts on the matter.
He was smiling too. "That was the best I have ever heard you play that! Wow! There's just something about that music that really had an effect on you." I thought he was going to jump out of his chair and do a dance. He had discovered the secret to pull out my true talent!
He gave me a copy of the CD and counseled me to listen to it every day before I practice.
Whether I will or not, is yet to be seen. Although it did seem to help a lot in soothing my quaking nerves.
But could the reason I played it so well, be because I've actually been practicing this semester? Because I've actually been listening to and applying everything you've told me to do at our past 11 lessons?
Either way, it was immensely satisfying to feel perfectly happy with my performance for once.
Thanks Luke! You've taught me a whole darn lot this semester. And whether it was because of the "Magical Opera Music" or just the fact that you really know what you're doing, I feel so much more accomplished in my playing. Because of you!