slipping through my hands
you bounced right off the keys
stealing away the tempo
to meditate in the breeze
flipping back the pages
to the beginning I returned
playing through the motions
hoping this time I had learned
I made it a little farther
climbing up crescendo’s mountain
only to find you waiting
to drown the tempo in your fountain
pushing back the bench
angrily pacing the floor
humming the tune and counting
one . . . two . . . three . . . four
there! I think I’ve got it
to the bench I then returned
surely on this hundredth try
you’d see I’d finally learned
in my head the song was perfect
but my fingers wouldn’t comply
stumbling on the icy notes
the rhythm sang to me goodbye
I’m not sure what you want from me
I thought that we were friends
so I throw the sheets up in the air
in need of a musical cleanse
but then I look and see a note
something I’d missed before
scribblings from my teacher
urging patience with the score
taking a deep and mindful breath
I place my fingers on the keys
and this time all that could be heard
was beauty singing in the breeze
Caesura is a term in music indicating a pause or break.
I began playing piano when I was four, which is not an age usually acquainted with an abundance of patience. And to make matters worse, I was keenly aware of how I could usually learn a new piece with ease. But as the compositions became increasingly more advanced, I found my ego and impatience had me rushing through the scores.
Usually when I went to my weekly piano lesson, I would successfully play not only that week’s lesson but usually one or two or three extras to impress my teacher, Lori. But this one week, I showed up to my lesson with only tears to share. I started playing Mozart’s Piano Sonata №18 in D, K. 576.
Then I stopped. Started again. Repeat 10 times.
I couldn’t master this piece, which admittedly is often listed as one of the hardest compositions to master. Especially for someone not even 10 years old. My teacher had warned me of its difficulty level and encouraged me to pick another piece for that week. But I’m stubborn.
Lori knew how much I loved this piece. How it nearly brought me to the brink of nonexistence every time I heard it. Because it was, to me, that beautiful. Instead of telling me to move on and pick another piece, she wrote a bunch of notes to me on the margins of each page.
The one that has stuck with me all these years was, be patient.
In everything that we do, excitement can often hinder our ability to take a pause. A break to allow the melody of our goals and dreams and expectations room to breathe. To shine.
I did eventually master this piece, although “master” is a relative term. It took me close to 6 years of practicing it off and off before I could finally somewhat beautifully stumble my way through the piece in its entirety.