His mother was shocked and then amazed as his musical ability developed at an amazing rate. She enrolled him in a toddler music class and from there he quickly advanced to a professional teacher in the small town where they lived.
Charlie loved music and playing the piano more than anything else. Soon after he started high school, he was at the piano when his mother called, “Charlie, John's at the door. He says he needs you to fill out their baseball team.”
Charlie answered, “Sorry, Mom. But I've got this new piece I promised Mr. Taylor I'd master by my next lesson.”
Charlie's dad frowned when he heard this. “Charlie, it's Saturday morning, you should go out and play with your friends. Get some fresh air. The piano will still be here after the game.”
“But Dad, I'd really rather do this. Mr. Taylor says I might have a chance at becoming a student of Professor Wallowitz.”
Mr. Dawson threw up his hands. “I give up. If that's what you want to do, that's what you want to do.”
Mrs. Dawson said, “You've been talking about this Professor ever since he played at the Christmas concert.”
“Mom, he's world famous and he only takes three new students a year. I want to be one of them.”
His parents sighed, but felt as long as his school grades were OK they couldn't interfere.
At the end of his freshman year in high school, he rushed into the house dropping his book bag on the floor.
“Mom, Dad! Great news! I've got an audition with Prof. Wallowitz.”
Mrs. Dawson said, “Charlie, pick up your books. But that's wonderful, I know how hard you've worked for this opportunity.”
As he picked up his books, he explained. “He's going to be in town this weekend and Mr. Taylor told him about me and he agreed to hear me play. Gosh, I'm so nervous. I've just got to do well.”
Charlie practiced every spare minute he had until time to meet Prof. Wallowitz where he was rehearsing for his concert.
To calm himself, Charlie practiced the deep breathing exercises Mr. Taylor had taught him. Although his teacher had also said that a little nervousness was good, it gave you an edge.
He played the difficult piece he had chosen perfectly. When the final chord died away, he waited expectantly. The professor listened intently, silently nodding his head. Then he said in a causal voice, “Not enough passion.”
Charlie was crushed. He had played his heart out and it wasn't good enough. He never touched a piano again. He was a resilient young man and eventually realized he had other talents. He put the same dedication he once had to the piano, to his new love, the law. He became an excellent trial lawyer and was known for his meticulous preparation.
Although he stopped going to concerts, his firm was sponsoring a charity concert and he felt obligated to go. He hadn't paid attention to the program and was surprised when he saw and heard his former nemesis, Professor Wallowitz. After wards as one of the sponsors, he went backstage to meet the great performer.
He introduced himself and added, “Many years ago I auditioned for you and you said I didn't 'have enough passion. What did you mean?”
The old man laughed and said, “Oh, I say that to everyone.”
Charlie was stunned, “But I gave up the piano because of you. I could have been a great performer.”
The professor shook his head, “Not really. If you were going to be a great musician, you would have done so, no matter what I had said.”