PIANOMAN – By Raphaelmary Chukwudi

It was music.

Not the ordinary music you listen to or sing.

But it’s still music.

It’s the music you play,

It was a musical instrument

It was the pianoforte.

Three years after graduating from the secondary school and I was unable to gain admission into the university, I lost hope. Life became meaningless. I would roam from one end of our street to the other without any mission. I felt like a failure as my parents were already tired of me.

My miserable life was transmogrified when Andrew took me to his church and I “touched” the standard pianoforte mounted on their altar.

“Which group do you play for?” their choirmaster had asked, amazed at my raw talent.

“I don’t know the first thing about a piano,” I answered insouciantly. “I suck at everything.”

“Hard life boy?” he giggled, “Notify me when you want to put those fingers of yours to good use.”

The next week, three of my friends were arrested for robbery and I decided to give life one last chance with my fingers.

I told my parents of my intention of being a pianist and they readily agreed as anything better than roaming the streets was acceptable.

I met Silas the choirmaster and he enrolled me into a music academy where I plan to specialize on playing the piano.

Within few weeks of my arrival, I was acclaimed the best student of the piano as I showed skills beyond that of a learner.

Storried Pianoman

“You’ll be as good as Yanni if you work harder,” my instructor would say to me.

On some occasions, we would be given songs to practice. Students who failed to perform excellently were told to stay back after normal lessons for more practice.

The drilling became more intense as it was rumored that Apostle Jerome, the best pianist in the country would be coming to our academy to pick two students for a program in Ottawa.

My skills became better and sharper as I played in churches, parties, clubs and different social gatherings.

My colleagues in the academy knew I was already in Ottawa and that they were just competing for the second place. I became a celebrity as everyone wanted to be associated with me.

Then pride set in.

I would tease my mates for their clumsiness, duel with any of them who provokes me, boast of my skill to any listening ear and jokingly challenge my instructors to a contest.

A week before the supposed arrival of Apostle Jerome, we were to give a freestyle performance in an auditorium.

Three performers before me were told to stay back for more practice due to their incompetence and I looked down on them with pity.

I climbed the stage with ease and played like never before. I played away my misery, my past street life, my formal sadness and my failure. I played off my sudden elevation, my superiority, my impeccability, my matchless skill and my infallibility.

I got lost in the pure bliss of the melodies I was releasing.

I played about heaven and earth, sun and moon, angels and demons, man and woman. I played of the world before creation.

I felt like Lucifer, no, like Saint Cecilia before the throne of God.


The command brought me back to reality.

“More practice for three hours!”

“No!’ I screamed. “I can’t stay for practice. I am the best pianist here, I don’t make mistakes,” I retorted.

“Yes! You are the best here, but you used the wrong octave and you were playing out of key.”

The auditorium was hushed.

My scrotum tightened with fear. I couldn’t bear staying behind for more practice with learners and being made an object of ridicule.

“I quit!” I shouted with tears as I ran out of the auditorium.

I went back to my street life and became worse till I bumped into Sarah, one of my former colleagues.

She explained how apostle Jerome pick two students during the extra practice hours the day I was asked to stay back.

I went back home, examined my life and I saw that I was very foolish for running out of the auditorium. I resolved to visit the head instructor of my academy the next day to apologize.

The head instructor accepted me and explained how he intentionally told me to stay back for practice that day. He explained how he was the only one who knew the arrival day of Jerome and was very pleased with my performance and wanted me to stay for more practice in order to meet Jerome, but reserved the opportunity to examine me in his own way. He admonished me never to see failure as my downfall but as a lesson.

Though I lost the opportunity of going to Ottawa, I now play for international organizations as I’ve learnt that failure and success are related as he who must learn to ride must also learn to fall.


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By Raphaelmary Chukwudi

It was music.

Not the ordinary music you listen to or sing.

But it’s still music.

It’s the music you play,


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