John Man, student pianist and gold-star lad, studies music both for fun and for himself. He knows he is quite an amazing musician, but for some reason he never plays very well in his lessons. Just last week he had a particularly bad lesson in which he made mistakes all over the place and kept forgetting large sections of the music.
“It’s so strange…I played way better just a moment ago,” he explained to Nancy McFancy, his teacher. “If only you had heard me warming up before the lesson you would have seen how great I really am.”
McFancy was reportedly relieved by this explanation, as it reassured her that Man’s true talent must exist. “I can’t even imagine how amazing he must sound when he plays at his best,” she said. “I have never heard him do that.”
After making a hash of his Schubert Impromptu, Man abruptly declared that Schubert was just too repetitive for anyone to memorise. Other students, who had been passing McFancy’s room at the time, reportedly saw Man hitting himself with his score and screaming “but I practised this!”
“He’s very passionate,” said McFancy, “or something.”
It is well known throughout McFancyPants Academy that Man does indeed spend a lot of time practising passionately. His friends say that he is always practising late into the night when he has a lesson the next day. “That’s how we know he is so good,” said some nameless chump. “He practises way more than Harry Barry.”
We spoke to Harry Barry, widely known as Man’s major rival. Barry says he tries to maximise the value of each minute spent at the piano and prides himself on his efficient working habits. “The way I play in lessons is like a dress rehearsal for an audience,” he said. “Having that extra pressure is a great way to find out how well you really know the music. Sometimes I only discover my weaknesses when I’m under pressure, and I am always grateful to learn.”
Man dismissed this approach, noting that he has a fundamentally different technique to Barry. “It’s just the way I am,” he said. “I play better on other days.”