“I’m struggling to inspire your son to practice,” I confided in the father at our end-of-year parent conference.

I was putting a lot of time and effort into finding music the student would like, but practice was minimal and progress was limited.

“Do we plow ahead, or is it time to make a change?” I asked.

“He likes you, and he likes playing the piano,” the dad said. “Lets keep working at it.”

Tonight, nearly two years later, that student’s fantastic playing gave me goose bumps and made me a little teary-eyed. And it wasn’t even a piece I had assigned. His school choir conductor asked him to accompany Morten Lauridsen’s Sure on this Shining Night, and the glory of that gorgeous music seemed to light a fire in his soul. He’s put in the work to make the piano accompaniment stunningly beautiful.

Thank you, Mr. Cook, for inviting Dylan to play. I suspect he’ll remember this opportunity as a milestone in his life.