The Right Choice - personal narrative by Sarah A. (10-13-11)

The Right Choice

By Sarah Addison (Oct 13th, 2011)

“Sarah! Time to get up!” my dad said.  It was Saturday.  I pushed away my comforter and slowly dragged my body to the door of my bedroom.  As I walked through the hallway it felt like the soft carpet had been coated with wet cement.  I crawled up the stairs and walked to the dining table for breakfast.  I chugged it down quickly and took my medicine.  I felt better once I had some food.  I dashed back down the stairs and turned sharply into the bathroom.  Immediately, I began to brush my teeth.  I sprinted into my bedroom and changed out of my pajamas and pulled on a shirt and skinny jeans.  “Sarah, we’re gonna be late!” shouted my mom.  I ran up the stairs and grabbed my music bag, slipped on my shoes, and said goodbye to my dad.  I headed out the door with my mom and we drove to my music school.  It’s called The Colburn School of Performing Arts.  I take a class there called Music Theory.  

Every semester in my music theory class everyone gets to perform a piece on an instrument.  “I’m going to have to drop you off today,” my mom said.  I hopped out of the car and went to my classroom.  I opened the door, all the kids from the earlier class rushed out, like they were a huge flash flood.  I quickly got out of their way.  After they left, I walked in and went to my usual seat.  Everyone else came in.  My classmate, Golda, sat next to me.  “I have to perform today,” Golda said solemnly.  “Shouldn’t you be excited about it?” I asked.  “Well, I guess.”  I smiled.  “You’ll do great”.  My music theory teacher, Ms. Kathy (or Queen Kathy), hushed the class. 

“Okay, everyone.  Settle down!”  She called the roll.  “Eli?”  “Here.”  “Carla?”  “Here.”  “Golda?”  “Present!”  “Sarah?”  I was sketching on my dictation paper, but when she called my name I snapped to attention.  “Here!”  “Gabriel?”  “Present!”  “Ashlyn?”  “Here.”  “Calvin?”  “Here.”  “Luke?”  There was only silence.  “Absent,” Queen Kathy said as she wrote on the attendance sheet.  We opened our books and corrected last week’s homework.  It was time for performances.  

“Today,” said Queen Kathy, “Golda will perform for us.”  We all clapped as Golda walked up to the piano.  We stopped clapping so we could hear the title.  “I am going to play Sonatina by ----“.  I couldn’t hear the composer because everyone started clapping again.  I hope it’s not the one I’m going to play, I thought.  There are a lot of pieces named Sonatina by lots of composers.  Golda began to play.  A frown fell upon my face.  It was the same one!  Golda only played the first half of Sonatina which was the only part I knew and I panicked because there was no way I could learn the second half in time.  When Golda finished everybody clapped.  “Good job!” said Queen Kathy.  Golda bowed and walked back to her seat.

When we got dismissed I ran out as fast as I could.  “Whoa! Careful!” my mom exclaimed.  I ran into her.  “Sorry,” I said.  “So what happened in class today?”  my mom asked.  “Somebody else played Sonatina,” I pouted.  “That doesn’t mean you can’t,” my mom said.  “But I want to do something that’s different.”  I paused to think.  “How about I learn a new piece on the violin and perform that instead?” I asked.  “Hmm…” My mom thought.  “Well…you’ll just have to practice at least four times a week if you’re going to do that.”  I nodded solemnly. I took a nap on the way back.  When we arrived home, I was still asleep.  

“Come on,” my mom said.  I stretched and opened the car door.  I slung my music bag over my shoulder and went inside.  I plopped myself on the couch next to where my dad was napping.  The thud I made when I sat down woke him up.  “Someone else played Sonatina,” I told him grimly.  “…So…What’s wrong with that?”  asked my dad.  “I was going to play it for my performance, but I want to do something that’s different.”  My mom chimed in, “She says she wants to learn a new piece on the violin.”  “That’s nice,’ my dad replied.  

Everyday it’s the same “wake up” drill.  Today’s Monday.  I thought.  Mondays I have my violin lesson with my violin teacher, Mrs. Deming.  School ended early that day so I had a lot of time to do my homework, which is good.  I have to finish my homework because after my violin lesson, I don’t have time.  My mom came to pick me up so we could go to Mrs. Deming’s house.  “Did you finish your homework?” my mom asks while we wait to cross the street.  “Yes.”  We knocked on her door.

  “Hi!  Come on in!” says Mrs. Deming happily.  “Sarah wants to learn a new piece so she can perform it in her music theory class,” my mom explained.  “Oh! That’s a great idea, Sarah!”  Mrs. Deming said.  “You’ve already passed off Minuet, so, yeah, we can learn a new piece.”  I nodded.  I opened my violin case and took out my violin.  I opened my violin book to see what looked interesting.  “How about Waltz?”  I asked.  “Okay,” Ms. Deming said.  “First start by sight reading it.”  I lifted my violin to my shoulder and squinted my eyes to read the music.  My first time playing the notes went like this:  right, wrong, wrong, right, right, right, wrong, wrong, wrong, right.  I tried over and over.  My lesson ended and we left.  

When I practiced, it still wasn’t right.  “Grrr!  I can’t get this stupid note right!”  I tried again.  I still got it wrong.  No matter how many times I tried, I still got it wrong.  I started to cry.  “I never should have chosen this piece!”  I sobbed.  “I don’t think you made the wrong choice,” my dad said calmly.  “I did!  I’m just going to give up.” I said angrily.  “You shouldn’t give up.  I know that you can do it.”  My mom, dad and violin teacher helped me with their support.  I gained confidence and did not give up.  Most of the week I spent time practicing.  I practiced and practiced until it sounded as smooth as silk.  I was ready to perform.  

It was a month since Golda performed.  Now it was my turn.  I walked into the middle of the room.  “I am going to play Waltz by Johannes Brahms.”  Everyone applauded.  As I was playing, confidence washed away my nervousness.  The song ended and I lifted my violin off my shoulder.  Everyone cheered.  “That was beautifully performed,” Queen Kathy said.  Then Golda raised her hand.  “Is the violin easy?”  My classmates that played violin and I burst out laughing.  “No. It’s not like the piano.  On the piano, the notes are tuned for you.  On the violin, you have to do it yourself,” Queen Kathy explained.  “I think Sarah has very good intonation.” 

 “Thanks.” I said.  “I practiced most of the week this whole month.”  My classmates had stunned looks on their faces.  “You make it look soooo easy!”  exclaimed Gabriel.  Eli and Calvin agreed with that.  When we were dismissed, I was in a good mood from the praise Queen Kathy gave me and couldn’t wait to tell my mom what happened.  Because I didn’t give up, I performed my piece beautifully.  I made the right choice, leading me to success.