A pair of particularly polite and philosophically astute siblings were reluctant to participate in the spring recital.One felt embarrassed as he had begun lessons at a later age than most. His sister felt that if the brother didn't perform, it would be unfair to require her to do so.
Both of course had to be shown the fallacies behind their faulty reasoning. In the brother's case, it is true he started lessons later, but because of his diligent practice and hard work and his more mature learning skills and fine motor coordination, he had advanced far beyond the usual first year student. Also, it is not the technical difficulty of the piece that signifies, but the musicality of the performance for which I offered the pedagogial illustration of Arthur Schnabel.
Schnabel, whose performances of Beethoven and Schubert have been hailed as the model of interpretive penetration spent much of his life perfecting his performance of Traumerei- one of Robert Schumann's Kinderszenen, (Scenes of Childhood) that in most instances would be categorized as an intermediate level piece. (Schnabel also once famously divided his audience into two groups: coughing and not coughing- but that is a subject for future musings). As Edward Krankshaw notes in his preface to Arthur Schnabel: My Life and Music, "..it was simply that this extraordinary genius could not play to his liking a little fragment one learns in the nursery and then never thinks about again."
"What do you mean, I've got it?"
"You've been playing it wrong for 40 years.!"