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"I Had A Dream" This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I had a dream. I had a dream that I believed in. I had a dream that could come true. I wanted that dream to come true so badly, but something happened. Something I regret, and would like to go back in time to change. I will never forget that dream and how I ruined it for myself. It's something that I'll never forgive myself for doing.

It was the afternoon before the competition. I was nervous and scared. I had practiced a lot, but obviously not enough. Why else was my teacher upset with me?

It was Friday afternoon, and I was at my piano teacher's house for a pre-competition psyche-up. I played through all of my pieces, stood up and bowed. When I looked up at Mrs. Koffman, I knew I was in trouble. She asked me to play through everything again. I did, but this time when I played, I lost the feeling of the music. I didn't mean to; it just happened. I wasn't Chopin anymore, Beethoven slipped out of my mind, and I could no longer feel Mozart's excitement within me. My mother came to bring me to my high school Pops concert when Mrs. Koffman said it. I wanted to shrink into the ground. Those words that almost killed me. "You're not ready."

I never did hear the rest of the conversation; I was too caught up in my own thoughts. Tears streamed down my face, and thoughts raced through my mind. My dream of winning this competition, of succeeding, and of strengthening my own self-confidence, were all wiped away with those words, "You're not ready." I don't understand it myself, but I really felt my life was over.

My mother drove me to the town hall and didn't say one word to me. I just sat staring out the window with uncontrollable tears falling. It wasn't the competition I was worried about. I'd won many competitions before, some a lot more prestigious, but that wasn't the point. The competition was a symbol. Everything in my life symbolized something, something about me. This competition was my pride and self-confidence. Nobody understood that. If I had gone to compete, it wouldn't matter that much if I won or lost. I compete because I have pride, self-confidence, faith, and determination.

I walked into the town hall, and a few people came over to ask why I was upset. My friends were sympathetic, but not one of them knew what was going through my mind.

A few close friends offered to drive me to New Hampshire the next morning to compete. I was touched by their offer, which made me cry even harder. But I knew I couldn't go. I got through the concert, but I didn't resolve what was on my mind.

When I walked into my house that night, I couldn't even look at my piano. For weeks after that, I couldn't bring myself to sit at the piano. That beautiful black instrument had become a coffin holding all my music inside, waiting to be buried, along with my heart.

About three months later, I somehow convinced my mother to allow me to study with Mrs. Rosenthal, my former teacher, who was an older, gentler woman. When summer was over, I started studying with my "new" teacher. At the beginning, I was scared. I didn't want to fail again. I was afraid to make music. I was already behind schedule, having

fallen behind my fellow competitors during the summer. After much thought, I decided to put the past behind me and start over from

the beginning. I was scared I couldn't catch up, but I was more determined to succeed than I had ever been.

It worked. I practiced four to five hours a day and worked with my teacher once a week until I finally gained my pride, faith, and most importantly, my self-confidence. I can't begin to explain how happy I was to be able to "come back." I am whole again, and I'm glad to be strong. It may be hard to understand how I feel about my music, it is a vital element in my life, and without it, I cannot function.

With this situation, I lost something, and I gained something too. I lost a great teacher, but regained another. I lost my self-confidence, but I was strong enough to win it back. My dream didn't come true, which was to compete in andwin the Nationals, but there is now another chance. The only difference then will be, I'll be ready. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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