At a guess, the little girl would be about eight years old, her first year as a piano student. When she squirmed up onto the piano bench, her red patent leather shoes hung high above the floor. There was no way she could reach the pedals.
She poised one finger to hit the first note.
She followed that note with a second, and a third. And she stopped. Something wasn’t right.
She tried again. One note, another, a third. And stopped again. She didn’t know how to go on.
She froze. Afraid to make another mistake. Afraid to risk another try.
Utter silence filled the room. No one breathed. The audience – parents, grandparents, siblings, fellow students – leaned forward as one. Wishing her on, willing her unwilling fingers to continue.
The intensity was physical. The old cliché says “You could cut it with a knife.” Well, perhaps not that palpable. But there was certainly something there in that room, a presence that filled the space, a spirit that moved in waves to support the little pianist.