Every year, my piano teacher, Lena Chen hosts a recital at Jacobs Music in PA. It’s so that we students can hear other music, and even more importantly, to practice before the huge event for me coming up tomorrow.
I’ve been to the Golden Key Music Festival of USA two times before, and the feeling is very natural already. The fest is a competition to place and evaluate to a player face to face, determining the skill by grading him or her. There are four award levels: gold, silver, Super Bronze (bronze), and Bronze Achievement. So this performance would sort of be a practice run for my audition tomorrow. My teacher always says that the product I produce today will be the same as whatever I do tomorrow.
Here I was suffocating in dress suits, waiting for my time to shine… … and fail. I went over my piece again in my head, thinking each note and trying to calm my nerves. I was playing Sonata in G Major, Op. 49 No. 2 1st Movement by Beethoven. When my turn was up, I walked on stage, bowed, and sat down in front of the piano. It was a Steinway & Sons piano, the best kind there was. The one I practiced on at home was a Yamaha, and they’re two completely different things. Yamaha pianos are easier to play soft notes, especially precise notes, while Steinway & Sons can have large variations with the tiniest of effort.
As I readied my hands, these facts flew through my mind in a split second, considering the options on which way to play the best. Steinway & Sons’ pianos also took more effort to press down, which could be critical for my soft notes. I often made the mistake on these pianos when I played too gently, and no sound appeared from the piano, making the moment pretty awkward, especially when it’s the first note. This time I was sure to play slightly harder on my first note to get the feel. As I pressed down, a huge loud G major chord rang though the room. On the inside, I winced. I quickly adjusted playing softer, and entering the rest of the piece as soft and slow as possible. In general, the tempo is sped up when someone plays a loud note, and what I just did was no different. The speed increased in the first measure enormously, and I totally thought it was obvious. There were no problems for a long time, and I got into the rhythm.
This wasn’t like Beethoven’s other pieces where the notes were pounded out of the piano. No, this was far from it and quite the opposite, in fact. It was jolly and dandy, nothing too extreme. Nice, lovely rhythm, but nothing too fast. I breezed through the first three pages, and then crashed into a bump. This wasn’t as obvious as the first one, so I learned after I was done when the teacher gave comments. The mood of the piece flipped, and on came a minor version of what this was before. This part was mostly just about the scales, up and down the keyboard my right hand went. Soon, a chord appeared, and I completely rushed through it as if it wasn’t there. Instead of holding 3 beats, my hands held 1, and then moved on. It sounded like the smallest hiccup that set my head ringing alarms. At the time, I let it pass, but knew I needed to grab some last minute practices. From now on, I’ll want to practice, not negotiate with mom to cut me some slack. “Thirty more minutes!” “No mom! Ten is long enough.” “Alright the, twenty it is!” “How about fi-” “Stop wasting time!” Usually that last statement comes with a blast of annoyance from mom. Just a typical Chinese mom, if you ask me.
So there I was playing the piece like nothing happened, and the minor scales returned to the major positive variation. This was flowed by more scales, and then the final chord. I bowed, smiling the best I could, although inside that’s not what I thought.
Whatever product I produce today will be the same thing I do tomorrow. That’s what I said. So now let rephrase it. Whatever product I produce today will likely be the same thing I do tomorrow.
(Sonata in G Major Op 49 #2 1st Mvt by Beethoven 02/28/2015)
(Piano Recital w/ Lena in Jacob's Music 02/28/2015)
弹给德里克听(Play w/ Derek 07/03/2011)