Inspiration Takes only a Second, but can Last a Lifetime

Emily - Conway, Arkansas
Entered on September 10, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I was nine years old, and at my first piano lesson. It was in a small room off the corner of a music store. It was a tiny room with barely enough space for the two chairs, small table, and the most important aspect: the piano. I sat on the piano bench and listened as my piano teacher explained the basic fundamentals of music from my newly acquired piano books.

Then at the end of the lesson, he asked me for my favorite Disney song. I didn’t have one; so, he chose to play for me “When You Wish Upon a Star”. Even though I don’t remember today how he played it, I remember the sound that captivated me. The beautiful music that I never knew could come out of those 88 piano keys. The moment he started playing the piano I was hooked. Someday, I wanted to sound like that, to be able to play like him.

That was the beginning of nine years of inspiration. When I initially became inspired that day, I began a talent that would earn me respect, and define my personality. My piano teacher opened up a new world for me. A world where music was not just ink on a page, but what you could make of it. He taught me almost everything I know about music, and it became not only a hobby, but a passion.

This year was to be tragic for both of us. He was losing a long time student; I couldn’t go to college away from home and still take piano lessons. I was losing a constant in my life that I had cherished. Little did I know that this tragedy would strike even deeper.

Roughly two weeks after my high school graduation I received a phone call from a friend of my piano teacher’s. That call bore the news that the man I knew as Mr. David, who had inspired me to explore the mechanics of music, had passed away. A massive heart attack took away the source of my inspiration. That last piano lesson had been the lesson he had given me the gift I cherish the most. That gift was a hymnal. Not just any hymnal though, this was the version that he had run off all of the hymns that I play for church. It was the newest edition, and the one that had special introductions and endings written for piano inside of it. It was a symbol of all we had worked on, it was his parting gift. I never got to really show him how much it meant to me.

Even though he is gone now, I still play the piano. I am on my own now, but I still strive to be able someday to sound like he did on that very first piano lesson nine years ago. I will never hear him play for me anymore, like he used to every week, but I still remember it. Though only for a few seconds, the first notes, and chords I heard Mr. David play that day inspired me to pursue the piano for a lifetime.