My daughter, Erika, has been taking piano lessons at a nearby university's pre-college piano program for about three years. "Pre-college" is a generous descriptor of all of the students who range in age from preschool to high school. Each year the pre-college teachers accept some new students.
Towards the end of each semester students participate in a recital. To prepare for the recital, the teacher hosts a practice session in the recital hall. Tonight, we attended the practice session for this semester. There were some students and families that I had not seen before. This was the first time I had the opportunity to see and meet them.
With all of the busyness, frustration, and often cynical, jaded views of life, it is easy to forget the excitement and passion that young children experience as they interact with the world. In his book, You Already Know How to Be Great, Alan Fine reminds us that all of us were once one-year old and fascinated by exploring the new world around us. Some of the young piano students required extensions to be added to the bench and for their feet in order to have the correct posture and hand position for the piano.
Tonight I was reminded of that excitement. One little girl arrived in her pink ballet leotard and her piano book in-hand. As soon as the teacher asked for a volunteer, she jumped up and walked briskly toward the stage. The teacher helped the girl get situated at the piano and her 15-second song began. Our little ballerina was smiling from ear to ear as she played, and even when she made mistakes she just kept playing, repeating as needed to correct certain passages.
Ballerina girl was followed by another young pianist who appear to be just as enthusiastic. When the teacher ask for the next student to play, the first girl quickly raised her hand! I love to see this kind of enthusiasm and passion. There were much more accomplished, slightly older piano students in the audience but this did not affect the performance of these two new students.
I believe that the lessons from these observations that we can apply to our lives are these:
1. Have fun no matter what.
2. Don't let mistakes keep you from having fun or impeding your progress.
3. Be a risk-taker and volunteer to go first.
4. Others may be more talented, intelligent, or attractive, but persevere anyway.