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Practice Makess Perfect

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“ Hey Jude, don’t make it bad. Take a sad song and make it better. Remember to let her into your heart, then you can start to make it better.” As I leafed through the pages of the piano book titled, “The Best of the Beatles”, little did I know that a masterpiece was hidden inside. Nor did I know that the same masterpiece was hidden inside of me, and it would completely change my life.

“Hey Jude, don’t be afraid. You were made to go out and get her. The minute you let her under your skin, then you’ll begin to make it better.” I skimmed through the pages over and over, hungrily searching for new music to play. The book, fat with sheet music, flopped open to what seemed to be the book owner’s favorite song: the binding was permanently creased from the thousands of times of turning to page one hundred seventy-eight. I read the bold words at the top of the page of music: “ ‘Hey Jude’, Words and Music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney”. And at that very moment, my journey began.

“ And anytime you feel the pain, Hey Jude, refrain. Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.” At first I was overwhelmed by the sharps, flats, and rests scattered across the staves, but I Looked a little closer and saw that it was just music. Music: something I had been studying for twelve of my thirteen years. Music: something I devoted six (or more) hours of the day to. It was just music…just…music. The thoughts dissolved and I looked at the black and white page. Could I really play this if I tried?

“ For well you know that it’s the fool who plays it cool, by making his world a little colder…” I placed my finger tips on the keys, took a deep breath, and attempted to play the song: F A A C D G G G A B F F E C D B A… The notes in the first line of the song fit together in a string of harmony, bouncing off the walls of my basement, and sending shivers up my spine. I fell in love as the music resonated through my mind.

“ Hey Jude, don’t let me down. You have found her now go and get her. Remember to let her into your heart, then you can start to make it better…” Playing this song felt so perfect, and I liked to imagine the beauty trickling through my basement walls and pouring out onto the world. Over and over, I played “Hey Jude”; I kept getting better and better all the time… And maybe someday, I imagined, I would be perfect.

“So let it out and let it in. Hey Jude begin; you’re waiting for someone to perform with. And don’t you know that its just you? Hey Jude, you’ll do the movement you need is on your shoulders…”Slowly but surely, I learned my song. Every note became embedded in my memory. But still, I reached into the squeaky piano bench, lifted the book titled “The Best of the Beatles”, and opened it to page one hundred seventy-eight. I practiced and practiced, nailing every note and striking every chord—almost perfectly. I always knew that perfection is unattainable, but being so close to it makes it seem so much more distant. It seemed to me that the closer I came to perfection, the harder it became to get better. So, I practiced and practiced, and practiced.

“Hey Jude, don’t make it bad. Take a sad song and make it better. Remember to let her under your skin, then you’ll begin to make it better, better, better!” I sat on the piano bench in the empty church. This was it: my chance to shine for no one to see. This was it: my one chance to win a standing ovation for an audience with no people. This was it: my chance to show no one how good I had become at playing the piano. And I played my song…

A voice spoke through the mellow darkness of the church. A voice so familiar, but I couldn’t place a name on it… “Michaela,” the voice said. “That sounded wonderful. I can tell that you have been practicing. Fantastic…”Dr. Wolf walked through the door of the church, walking into my imaginary concert. His black hair shone in the dim light of the House of God. The ghost of my music still floated through the rafters and echoed through the church. One thought resonated through my mind, along with the notes of my song: Practice makes perfect.



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