Judging the Judge

by Andie, Period 7



     Last month in February, I performed my annual piano festival piece at the UCF’s Performing Arts building. This is now my eighth year here and boy do I still get nervous EVERY TIME. You may be wondering by this point how I’m still nervous. Truth is, I don’t even know myself. Each year, I practice rigorously two weeks prior to the performance (and also once in awhile during the other months I’m given), doing whatever possible way to have my two songs memorized, note by note. My pieces weren’t difficult compared to the very high-leveled students, but I just wanted that instant gratification of feeling proud when I’m done performing them. As my mom parked the car, I walked out and entered the building automatically, knowing what to do next without hesitating; collect your score sheet, check the room on the sheet, go to that room on the sheet, and wait outside the room’s door nervously for your turn. I did just that and checked the list to see when it was my turn. Turns out that I was actually next.

    A young girl before me walked out and I was summoned by the judge’s assistant into the room. I handed my books to the judge’s assistant, who later then proceeded to hand my books to the real judge. The judge told me to warm up the piano as she got ready. I played a scale going up the piano and as I was about to go back down, she abruptly and strictly told me to stop playing, but I hadn’t finished testing the piano out. All I got from “warming-up”, was that the piano was extremely stiff and muffled, and this was not good news for me. When I was told to begin, my mind went blank and for the first five measures of my first song. My left hand played the completely wrong notes and my ears cringed at the sound of it and I was so sure the judge heard it too. As I was playing, I couldn’t hear the notes due to the piano’s muffled-ness, so I often missed a few notes here and there. Playing my other song felt like forever and then it was all over. I collected my books from the judge who didn’t even look up at me or say anything when I finished. Based on her attitude, I knew for sure what my score would be and I had the worst feeling. Six months of practice down the drain. I walked out the room feeling defeated as ever.

    That following Saturday, I received my score from my piano teacher. Throughout the week, I was mentally preparing on how to react to my low score. As my teacher handed my score sheet, she exclaimed a loud, “Congratulations!”, and I was shocked. I got a superior!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Glancing over at the “comments” section on the paper, the judge wrote all the things I did well while playing. Nowhere to be seen, was the comment about my huge mistake or even my minor mistakes! I assumed she didn’t hear them because of the piano’s stiffness and muffled-ness, and I was so glad she didn’t. That day, I felt as proud as ever and I realized a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.


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