I stared up In shock at the announcer. I was sitting In the middle of an audience I had Just played for a few hours ago. “Whooohooo!!!! Yean!!! ” I turn around to see the audience cheering their lungs out for me. Even though I’ve been through so many competitions before, none of the competitions could even compare to the contrasting feelings I was having at the moment. Although at the time, I still did not know who won in the finals of one of the biggest competitions in

California, nor did I know what the Judges thought of me, I knew that I had successfully completed a memory that would have a big impact on my life. I knew that I had worked hard and tried my best, and even if I ended up not even winning a place, I would have earned something from this extreme event. My teacher had been trying to decide what piece to give me for my next competition: MEAT, the Music Teacher’s Association of California. What does that mean? It means that I will be competing In one of the biggest, and hardest competition In California again.

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It would be the 3rd time In this competition for me, after falling the first time, and barely cleaving ‘Honorable Mention’ the second time. I knew that this was my chance, my chance to finally show all the critics, all the people that believed I was just a talents girl with extremely well-known teachers, that I actually was able to play the piano. “Oh! How about this piece? ” my mentor suggested. I looked up to see my teacher, a young boy stuck in a old man’s body, look at me, so happy and excited about something that he was almost bouncing off the floor.

I see IM holding a green book, and I see as he opens the book to the 5th page, the words “Babbage Variations” by Schumann. I nearly fainted right there and then. “How did this teacher expect me to play this super hard piece that even Lang Lang made mistakes In when he played, when I couldn’t even play my Mendelssohn well? ‘ I thought to myself, “but I probably can’t do anything about it, especially not with my mom looking like a dog that just managed to get its owner to give it a thousand bones, also. ” The first big obstacle came quick enough.

My mom announced that I was going to lay at her student’s recital, only a few months after I first got the piece. I nearly fainted after all the screaming, crying, yelling I did. “It would be a good experience and excellent practice for your competition” she said. “But I’m not ready! ” I replied back trying to use imploring eyes to achieve a change of mind. Muff are playing, and that’s final! ” she answered. I knew there was absolutely no point In arguing anymore, and that all I could do was practice.

Turns out, I was completely right about one fact: I was not ready for this recital at all. I messed up, and I didn’t mess up small. I messed up humongous, much practicing I would have to do to prepare for my second obstacle: my piano teacher’s recital. Apparently, all the practicing I did before this next recital was not enough, because I managed to embarrass myself at my piano teacher’s recital also. My fate was inevitable, and I knew by then that I was going to be practicing like crazy now, if I didn’t before.

I also knew how furious my mom was going to be at me. My prediction was completely correct, as I was told to practice so much that my fingers were about to fall off. To be exact, I practiced sixty times for each variation, and Babbage Variations has multiple variations. Though it took more than 4 hours every day, I stayed persistent, and slowly and steadily I improved. As I was about to go into a room for the first round of the competition, all I could think was… “What if I mess up, what if I mess up…

I’m going to mess up, I’m going to mess up, I’M GOING TO MESS UP!!! GASH!!! ” The door holder called out, “Anna Yang”, and it was my turn. I went in, and was surprised to find three Judges, different from the previous year. My face literally urine as bright as the sun when I did not see the Judge that absolutely detests my teacher, *a*c* *e*s*n (for privacy reasons, I will exclude her name from this essay). I turned as hyper as a kid could become, and I was about to scream from happiness right then.

Every single time I am in a competition, and she’s a Judge, she always marks me down. Luckily, she was not here this time, and instead, sitting in her place, was a nice, friendly looking old lady, a not very skinny lady who’s facial expressions seemed a bit like the evil stepmother from Cinderella, and a Jasmine look-a-like lady who’s only difference from Jasmine was that she looked like she was about to poison me with a poisonous apple. As I bowed to them, I became more relaxed at the smile of the nice, friendly looking old lady.

Although I was still frightened at the prospect of messing up, I was shaking a considerably less amount than I was before. I made a mistake, but I was lucky. Right when I made the mistake, the nice, friendly looking Judge dropped her cushion from her chair, and everyone rushed to help her pick it up. My mistake had gone by unnoticed by the crowd. By that time, I as so ecstatic that my smile was about to reach the sky. The results of the first round came out soon enough.

As I went on the MEAT website on my phone, I could hear both my mom’s heartbeat, and also my heartbeat beating as fast as a hare would beat while being chased by a extremely furious tiger. The page finally finished loading, and I scrolled down to see: Grand Prize: Anna Yang. I celebrated for about 2 minutes thinking about how all that practice had actually been beneficial, and then I realized what that meant… I was going to have to compete en more time, this time against the winner of the Southern California group.

I scrolled down to see who exactly I had to compete against during the final, and I went ballistic when I saw. Sherry Tang was the winner of Southern California. I was going to play against THE Sherry Tang, the girl who was on From the Top and won against college kids. The girl who won a national competition. By that time, I was already dead cast against the fact that I would never win, but my mom calmed me down with her comforting words, telling me that I should not give up, even if there is almost no chance of winning. I did not give up.

I continued playing and practicing every day, and I ended up not my name. As I heard the words “1st place, Anna Yang”, I walked towards the auditorium stage. As I walked on stage, I did not cry. I could only smile. Who wouldn’t? Why would you be unhappy about the fact that you had Just won one of the biggest competitions in California? Though I do not practice as much anymore, I still always have a certain self- confidence while playing piano. I also learned that as long as I put in effort and I have fun, the audience and Judges will also have fun, and they will feel the effort I have put in.