Sunday, November 23, 2014

An evening of music

A couple of weeks ago, we got to take Biscuit to see a professional concert pianist. She's originally from China, but now she lives here and is a professor at one of the arts schools.

She played her first public concert at age 6. She played with an orchestra the first time at 13. She's played all the big concert halls, like Carnegie Hall, and she's played on five continents.

In other words, she knows what she's doing and is plenty talented.

We found our seats and got settled. And shortly after, she walked out onstage. She's a young woman, and she was wearing a pretty, flowy purple dress with sparkly jewelry.

Biscuit will have his first piano recital in January, and his teacher has been trying to prep him. He told Biscuit that he will walk up and sit at the piano. Then he should keep his hands in his lap and count to 10. Then he'll put his hands in position and begin to play. Then after he plays his songs, Biscuit should stand up and bow toward the audience.

When the pianist came out at the concert, everyone started to clap, and she bowed. Biscuit looked at me and grinned.

"I wonder if she ever gets nervous," Biscuit asked.

"I bet she does," I said to him. "There are a lot of people here."

When she sat down, I leaned over to Biscuit and counted quietly in his ear, "One ... two ... three ... four ... five ... six ... seven ... eight ... nine ... ten ..." Then she picked up her hands and put them on the keys. Biscuit gave me a big smile.

The first song she played was some very modern, very dissonant song that none of the three of us liked. Biscuit spent the entire song looking around the auditorium and even started to fidget a little.

I was worried he would want to go before it even got started well.

After the first song, she moved right into some Chopin. And just as quickly as Biscuit's attention had waned in the first song, his eyes were suddenly glued to the stage. He's heard Chopin before. It sounded familiar to him, and I could tell he was enjoying it a lot more than the first song.

The concert started at 7:30, and Biscuit's bedtime is 8:30. So I wondered how long he would make it. I figured the concert would probably last until about 9 p.m., and especially with him having to sit still, I figured Biscuit might not last all the way through.

And I was right. About 8:45, Biscuit's head started to nod.

I was so proud of him for lasting as long as he did. I mean, it was dark and quiet, and there was pretty music playing. That's a perfect equation for putting someone to sleep!

Biscuit looked at me, and I could tell that he could hardly hold his eyes open.

I scooted over toward his seat and patted my thigh. He laid his head down on my leg, and I covered him up with my coat. I bet it wasn't two minutes later that he was asleep!

I hated that he couldn't make it because for the last two songs, she invited another pianist out, and they played together on the one piano. They played the last two songs together, and they were both fun, lively pieces.

I knew the pianist would do a meet-and-greet after the show, so I tried to wake up Biscuit. I figured if he could ask her in person if she ever gets nervous, that she would probably say yes. And maybe that would help him as he gets ready for his recital.

The poor little man couldn't wake up, though, and Jeff carried him all the way to the car. We had to walk about a block to our car, and Jeff said he's getting pretty heavy these days.

I asked Biscuit the next day to tell me his favorite part of the concert.

"I liked it when she bowed," Biscuit said.

He was excited to tell his piano teacher at his next lesson. I put the program in his piano book bag so he could show him. The teacher was familiar with a lot of the music, so he was able to talk to Biscuit about it.

I love that we live in a city big enough to offer programs like this. And I love that Biscuit is game for whatever we come up with.

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