- October 4, 2011, 10:34pm
It happened in 3rd grade. My brother and I had prepared a duet from one of Anton Diabelli's duet books for beginners. I adored those duets. They are still among some of my favorite pieces to play. The book was a gift from my grandmother. She and my mother insisted that playing a duet with my twin brother would be the "cutest" thing ever, and since I was only in third grade, I had no choice in the matter. So, I learned the primo part, and my brother the secundo. We played it perfectly several times before the recital and even squeezed in one last practice just moments before it began. We were ready. I glanced at the order of performances on the program and noticed that our duet was last! Usually, the more advanced students were put at the end of the program. During the recital, I couldn't concentrate on anyone else's performances. All I could think of was the duet we were about to play. It seemed like an eternity before it was our turn. Finally, it was time.
We began the piece smoothly enough. My fingers were shaking. To this day, my fingers still shake whenever I'm performing on the piano. Suddenly, one of us made a mistake. I don't remember who made the first one, and it doesn't matter now (it was my brother). This was the beginning of the collapse. We both started panicking and made more mistakes. We couldn't stop ourselves. I lost my place, my brother played terribly wrong notes, and we both glared at each other and mumbled under our breath. Eventually, we came to what we decided was the end of the song and literally ran back to our seats. I could tell my face was red. The recital was over. We were the grand finale My dad recorded the whole thing with his VHS camcorder.
On the drive home, I heard my mom say to my dad, "I don't think they're going to want to watch that video..." I wish they had saved it.
Looking back, I learned two things from what seemed at the time to be a terrible experience. Number 1: I will never again play a duet with my twin brother, and number 2: making those mistakes only made me work harder for the next recital.
I redeemed myself at my next performance and (almost) forgot about the incident.