Amazing Kids! Magazine

One Foot in Front of the Other

By Olivia Pineda, Assistant Editor


Banging the keys in frustration, I turned away from the piano, trying to fight the tears that were already welling up in my eyes. After an hour of practicing, I still couldn’t get the rhythm quite right on a Mozart piece that I had to present to my piano teacher the following day. It was frustrating, to be sure, to have spent such a long time on a piano song and still be unable to play the piece correctly. To me, the piece had at first seemed fairly easy, and had a pretty simple melody. But, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to play it the way that it was supposed to be played.

I decided to take a break, and come back to the piece later, when I had calmed down. For the most part, after a little bit of work, I could usually learn the song pretty quickly – however, it was always that one song, which might have appeared simple but was deceptively difficult, that always got to me. These types of songs always made me doubt myself as a pianist – if I couldn’t get this song right, would I be able to learn harder songs?

After having dinner, I decided to come back to the piano. Placing my fingers tentatively on the keys, I chose to play the piece slowly and carefully, focusing on hitting the correct notes instead of trying to play the piece quickly. Using this new method of practicing, I exercised a great deal of patience, something that I often have trouble with. Instead of focusing on how hard the rhythm was, I focused on how I could improve myself, little by little. Finally, I could slowly see myself getting better.

That evening, I didn’t have an epiphany, and I didn’t even get the rhythm right until a week later. But, I learned an important lesson – sometimes, baby steps are the best way to reach a goal. I’m an impatient person who likes to think that I can get somewhere by taking leaps and bounds. But, in the case of piano, I couldn’t move forward and improve until I slowed down, believed in myself, and took it one step at a time.