The child threw his hands in his lap. All these lines and dots and funny marks—he would never understand them all!
“I know it isn’t easy,” his teacher said. “But think of reading music as learning to read another language.”
“My own language is hard enough.”
The teacher sighed, looking at her hands. “But music is so much more than notes on a page. Music is—well, it’s the language your heart speaks when words aren’t good enough. Listen.”
She traded places with him on the piano bench and opened a folder of music. Her fingers flew across the keys, and the room transformed into the heart of a wordless poet. The child felt goosebumps prickling his arms and tears pricking his eyes. And he understood.
To say the music was beautiful simply wasn’t good enough. It was a rain shower playing the leaves of a forest. It was a herd of horses galloping untamed. It was a summer sunrise. It was a warm, forgiving hug after a fight with his brother. It was Emotion itself, stirring up in him feelings he couldn’t even comprehend.
When the last note rang into oblivion, the child looked at his teacher, then at the sheet music. “That’s what all that says?”
“No. The notes are only someone’s attempt to write down what can’t be written. But once you learn to read them, they’ll help you discover the language of the heart.”
He nodded, not entirely sure he understood, but feeling as if he were on the brink of a most thrilling adventure. “Someday,” he said, “I’m going to play like that.”