By Richard Hsu
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Ode to Joy

She walked on stage, bowed to us, then sat down in front of the grand piano. She played the first notes but it didn’t sound right. After scanning through the keys, she tried again, and it still didn’t sound right. She looked worried. She tried it again and stopped, shaking her head. Her eyes briefly turned towards the audience looking for someone (her lips read mommy). She looked back at the piano keys one more time to search for the starting key. All this happened quickly but I could imagine the teacher, seated in the front row, patiently alternating between waiting or helping.

When it became clear she needed help, the teacher walked up to the piano, gently placed her fingers on the right key and we were treated to a beautiful performance of Ode to Joy. It was an amazing thing to see. She played confidently, not missing a beat or key, and completed what was likely the first performance of her life. We clapped and cheered for her as she bowed to us and walked back to her seat.

This wasn’t the only memorable moment in the Spring music concert for students. My daughter also performed for the first time in her life and it went well. In five months, Adele went from knowing nothing about music or piano to playing Part of your world in front of an audience full of strangers. I hope she continues to learn and enjoy music.