At the town’s music school, about 30 children are sitting in the first-year music theory class. This year is compulsory for everyone before we can choose a musical instrument. We sing, learn to read music, listen to the teacher playing harmonies on the piano and clap rhythms in chorus. A woman enters the room, and she is introduced as the only cello teacher in the music school, and therefore the whole town. She asks us to place our hands flat on our desks.
She walks around the classroom, carefully studying each pair of hands. She seems to be fully immersed in this task. Her facial expression shows concentration. I study her appearance. She is tall. She wears high, dark brown boots, and a long brown skirt with a tight, beige, knitted pullover. She has light strawberry red hair and her face looks kind. I feel my heart beating in my chest. I love cello. It’s the instrument I would most like to learn to play. She arrives at my desk and after a quick look at my hands, she proceeds to the next desk. My heart is beating even more loudly. I can hardly wait until she finishes her round. She walks to the front of the class and surveys the room. She points at five children and explains that only these children will be able to learn cello as she cannot take more. Others will have the opportunity to choose another instrument. My heart sinks. At this moment my wish to play the cello becomes an unfulfilled dream.