Advanced Essay Don't be Afraid of Fear

For this essay, my main goals were to address a few scenes of memory from my life that go over the topic of fear. I was most proud of my figurative language skills and my build-up of tension. I would improve describe each little scene deeper so that the readers feel like they are in my shoes.

I was nearly 11 years old and totally not excited for what tonight had to come. At this point in my life, my parents are divorced and I live with my mom Saturday through Wednesday while Thursdays and Fridays I am with my dad. A quick history lesson on my dad, he is a teacher for a school in South Philly. He has only one kid(me) and goes to the bar a lot like normal guys his age. Besides watching golf and football his only other hobby is playing music. He loves music, whether it’s to play, listen, or make up his own. For the longest time, he wanted me to get piano lessons. He tried teaching me but like any other father and son, being taught by your dad on how to do something will never go smoothly. It’s like telling a mouse to sleep with a cat, it just can’t work. But after watching him play this beautiful song Fur Elise, I decided it was time to give it a try. I was inspired, but since I told him that I will not learn if he was the teacher we had to think of another way of learning. After some thinking, we agreed that a piano teacher could come to our house and teach on our piano. Ding Dong the doorbell sounds. A jolt of fear and curiosity went through my veins as anyone does when they here an alarming noise. My dad gets up off the couch and heads left towards the door while I head toward the piano. We have a stand-up piano my grandmother gave to my dad when we first moved in. The piano is a dark brown with skinny legs and three pedals at the bottom. The white and black keys were dusty towards either end of the scale while there were greasy fingerprints towards the middle.

I could hear my father open the door and out of my peripheral, I saw a tall white man with long brown hair. I turned my head to the right and made eye contact with the man. He had a brown top hat and a brown coat, his eyes were dull brown with creases beneath his eyes. I didn’t get the jazzy pianist vibe I was imagining but more of a hipster vibe. He came through the antechamber of our house, past the couch and he approached the piano where I was standing. He greeted me with a nicer attitude than I thought he would have. “Heya Max! How was your day?” The man asked me. His eyes were wide open and his head was tilted. It was almost kinda creepy, he reminded me of a clown. “Uhh, alright,” I replied nervously. We then sit down together on the stool beside the piano just underneath where the keys are. Before we go into the lesson he asked me questions to get to know me, which reduced my anxiety levels. That was smart of him because the creepy hipster clown vibe I was getting was not working out. He later went on and showed me what sheet music looked like. I was confused and did not understand how to read notes, It was like learning another language to me. As the lesson went on my slight bit of adermation slowly escaped from me and my hands went cold and lifeless. It was only halfway through the lesson and all I could think about was how badly I wanted this lesson to end. My forearms were squealing with pain and my wrists were droopy from playing cords. The lesson was over and my takeaways were that I was not happy and I wasn’t interested in music anymore. My dad walked him out towards the door and gave him a handshake goodbye. My dad walked back towards me where the piano was. I looked at my dad up and down then proceeded the truth. I told him I did not enjoy any part of what just happened and I wanted out. He was displeased and wouldn’t let me quit this fast. After a few more lessons with me complaining at the end of each one, he finally let up and canceled the piano lessons altogether. After all of this, I realized I had a problem. My problem was that I give up to easy and I am scared of failure. I am scared of what people will think. I am not good with learning anything new besides when I am in school. I figured I had to fix that problem sooner or later. I decided on later…

It was the winter break of my first year at SLA. This new school environment was bringing out a different side of me. I was trying new foods, making new friends, and trying new hobbies. My hard thick skin that surrounded the insecurities got thinner as the school year went along. I became more confident in who I was and who I could be in the future.

Every year for Christmas my family and I drive up to my grandmother’s house in Valparaiso, Indiana. It was always good times over there until I saw an old friend laying beside the stairs. It was black and tall with skinny legs much like the brown hunk of dest I have back at home. My grandma introduced me to it she said she has been getting along with it quite nice and I was impressed by her songs. She taught me how to play one of the easy songs she knows and I caught on pretty easily. I was having fun! I could finally see how my dad could enjoy playing music. I was hooked, for the rest of the vacation, I would play for hours on end until my hands hurt. I played so much in that one week that my grandma taught me everything she knew, a whole years worth of practice that I learned entirely in one week. I was amazed at how easy it was for me to learn songs, I didn’t read the sheet music though. I would learn from demonstration and practice and play by memory. This might have developed some bad habits by not learning by the rules but the point was to have fun! Once the week was over and we drove back home my mom realized my interest in the piano. Later the next month for my birthday she gave me a digital piano with fewer keys than a normal piano. At that time I did not care. I was sick of only being able to play a couple of days a week while I was at my dad’s house. Once my new piano was set up I played every day for as long as I could. I learned songs from Beethoven in only a month after learning how to play. I learned songs like titanic after a few months then later that year I was learning multiple classical pieces all by memory. I became so good that I could learn any song I wanted within a week and play it perfectly by two.

This talent of learning songs fast became more than a hobby and now a passion. I continued mastering piano and still to this day I am still in love with the keys. I really do think that playing the piano opened me up to trying new things. Now I have conquered one of my biggest fears and insecurities, failure.