Saturday, May 14, 2011

Adventures in Piano Playing

It seems a simple enough activity. Place your child (or a child procured by you) into piano and let them learn to play. Except for the fact, that piano is evidently a contest and exam driven instrument, and as such, many exams and contests are staged at multiple areas. These require months (or at least weeks) of preparation, and transporting of your subject to the areas of contest.

The child we have procured for piano, loves to practice, loves to play and loves to compete. So when he chose to go out for his piano trophy, and thus complete the piano exams I didn't think much of it. We hopped in the car this morning, ready to go complete the exams. Devin was ready and waiting with his 3 memorized songs, the ability to sight read, to play scales and a zillion other things my non-musical mind can't begin to understand.

Time: 1:05 to exam time. Our trip was slightly rocky in the beginning when I couldn't find the address on my phone, but we recovered it, and headed out, with the thought we'd get there 20 minutes early.

I was using the new GPS instead of my handy-dandy phone GPS because I wanted to get used to it before our trip next month. I did find out the voice was really annoying, so that was a good thing. We zoomed through downtown, onto the the college campus and turned left where it said. How easy is this?

:20 to exam time. The problem arose, when I looked out the window, and noticed the building didn't have the name on it that it should have. But this is a college campus, maybe it was inside, or, mislabeled? We circled around, I put it in my phone and got the same building.
:15 to exam time. So I stopped in front, and sent the Piano Prodigy and my mom in to look while I waited. There were a ton of people wandering around, which I thought was really promising, until out of the corner of my eye I noticed someone in a graduating cap and gown. At that point, my phone rang and I heard Kevin talking saying that he was trying to call me to get me back. At this point I panicked.

We had :10 minutes to get to his exam, and we were lost. Yes lost. Totally lost. Cause if this wasn't it, I had no idea where it could be. I had no map, and this is a huge college campus. In my panic I looked over my other shoulder to realize a bunch of cars had pulled next to my parking spot to wait for people. Meanwhile I am shouting into the phone that I am where I was, and that they needed to get out here NOW!! I hang up the phone, jump out of the car and scream at the people to move that I have to get out. They drive away with fear in their eyes and I pull out of the space directly blocking the road, while mom, Kevin and Devin come racing down the road in a flat out run. They jump in the car, and between breaths Mom tells me that they ran into a buffet for graduation, asked 25 people and finally found someone who gave them directions. We were to follow Washington down, and turn onto some other road and look for a building that looked like a mushroom. Alrighty.

We have :8 minutes to find a mushroom building. After this point it becomes a blur, I remember 3 wrong turns, 2 red lights I deliberately ran (and a stop sign, but who's counting), along with a pedestrian or 2 that I swerved around. Mushroom building was nowhere in sight, and I started apologizing to Devin who wasn't going to get his trophy, or his exam certification, and his hopes for getting into Julliard and being the next Billy Joel would be over, and his piano life as we knew it would end. By the time I was done I had mentally cast this as ruining Devin's life, and cementing his hatred for music. I was picturing him in a sterile non-music world, telling the story of how his aunt ruined his life when she couldn't get him to his piano exam on time, costing him his trophy, and because of that he never performed again.

Right when I was imagining whether he'd still have a job or whether he'd end up homeless under a bridge due to this trauma, one of the others spotted the building (non-mushroom shaped) and I stopped in the middle of the road, threw on my flashers and Mom and Devin leaped out and into a dead run. -:7 minutes to exam!! Let me just add here, Mom has Rheumathoid arthritis, has had multiple foot surgeries, and doesn't run well. She can run a lot faster when she is under a time limit than one would imagine. Very impressive, though I partially credit her new running K-swiss ziggy shoes.

I said a quick prayer and found a parking spot so we could track them down later, this was especially important as Mom's cell phone had slid out of her purse at the first building, and she had thrown it back into the car, narrowly missing my head. I was also prepared to plead my case and tell the story about mushrooms, street signs and the difference between 4th st S and S 4th St and that they should NOT be allowed on the same college campus if they hadn't allowed him in. We followed the teeny signs pointing downstairs and found the hallway. I began to feel a small bit better when I saw a man come running in with his little girl literally flying behind him like a kite as he gripped her arm. I'm willing to bet they also ran into the 4th st S vs. S 4th st issue.

10 minutes later, Devin emerged victorious, none of the crying, swerving, slamming on brakes, or general panic had broken his cool calm Piano Prodigy level, and he had aced his exam, and was ready for lunch. I was ready for a drink.

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