I sat down and stared at the keys. For the first time I didn’t Imagine them taunting me, causing a shaky and nervous touch. Instead , the keys seemed to invite me, even encourage me. I thought about singing. I thought about my piano teacher’s love and support. I thought about my passion for music. And I thought, Here goes nothing. I played my heart out, losing myself in the beauty of Eugenie Rocherolle’s “Rapsodie”. As I approached the climax, the part where everything either falls apart or comes together, I didn’t feel my heart racing uncontrollably. I was overcome with joy. It was at that very moment that I knew I was a musician. I smiled a that thought. My mom tells me that she saw that smile and knew the significance of what I had achieved.
This significant accomplishment was performing without stage fright – the roadblock I thought I’d never get past. My piano teacher, Mrs. Lauzums, laid a strong foundation for me, weaving her life experiences and Latvian heritage into scales and music theory. She helped me prepare recital and competition pieces by sharing her own stories of stage fright and botched performances. It was so reassuring to see living proof that I could improve, if only I genuinely trusted my ability. We have built a wonderful relationship, and I was able to turn Mr. Lauzums’ stories into motivation.
I was able to draw on the advice and example of people in my life and to then better myself. Since that pivotal performance of “Rapsodie” I have had many more. None are easy. But it took just that one leap of faith to convince myself that I am capable of great things, if only I let myself go.
Thank you, Mrs. Lauzums
Grace Marie D.
For Ms Mara
the world’s best piano teacher,
with respect and appreciation
Here’s to the lady whose love made me see
what a gift to my life a piano could be.
You’ve been endlessly patient, consistently kind,
in spite of the fact that I always could find
ten reasons to grumble and gripe and complain
“I don’t have the time. My life is insane,
I’ve got school work and soccer and, when that is done,
I still have to practice. There’s no time for fun”
But you and my mom were a formidable pair.
You bribed and cajoled me and said “Don’t you dare
abandon the music that you’ve got inside.
This gift that God gave you must not be denied.
Back to the piano now! Practice that piece”
I have to admit that my pleasure increased
when I started composing and playing by ear
then, little by little, it all became clear
that all you had promised was now coming true.
For the rest of my life, I’ll go on thanking you
for believing in me and, by minute degrees
unlocking the magic in 88 keys.