“Difficulty need not foreshadow despair or defeat. Rather achievement can be all the more satisfying because of obstacles surmounted.”

In May 2013, I met my new piano teacher, Mr Terence Pereira. My former teacher felt that I was ready to take up advance levels and introduced me to him. At first, I felt he was very cold, because he didn’t even ask my name or what I did. He did an Ear Test and said, “Tuesdays, 5:30.” And now, I eagerly wait for that time every week.

            In my first class, he opened the Grade 4 in Piano book by Trinity College and played all the pieces to give me an idea of the sound and level. Out of the set, I loved the slow and contemporary pieces. Soon after which, he played Rondo, 2nd movement from Sonatina in F, by Ludwig van Beethoven. This piece looked complex; full of intricate dynamics, quarter notes on a 2/4 timing at 120 BPM tempo. Since I was preparing for a grade examination, I dreaded choosing this difficult piece. Sensing my fear he said, “Great! So we start with this piece.”

From a very young age, I was taught by ear and never had any formal training in music until a year ago. Sight reading was out of question! It took me months to analyse each hand, and only then could I begin to play each hand separately and slowly. These examinations required three pieces. After working on the first piece, it took me less than a week to accomplish the other two. With three months of effort, I could finally play the Beethoven piece at 89 BPM.

I had overcome the most limiting factor— the fear of failing at trying something new. I also realized how fortunate I was to have a patient teacher like him, who spread his love for music exponentially, and who didn’t teach for exams, but taught with the ambition to create the most skilled pianist out of me.