I am writing this letter to you because I am thinking about your upcoming piano competition. You have worked so hard for this and I want to let you know first and foremost how proud I am that you will be performing in this event. As your teacher, I am so happy you will have the opportunity to play in front of seasoned judges and other accomplished pianists.
Have you ever watched the Olympic Games on TV? The best athletes from all over the world get together to compete for the Gold Medal. Those athletes must have trained so hard, and they must have been the best from their country in order to be chosen to represent that country. Yet at the end of the game, there can only be one Gold Medalist.
Piano competitions are sort of like that. All the competitors are the best students from their teacher’s studio, but because it is a competition, the judges must select only one person to receive First Prize, Second Prize, and so on. It does not mean those not selected to win a prize are not good. Sometimes the person that gets First Prize is indeed the very best and really deserves it. Usually, however, it just means that particular person played that particular piece the best that particular day, on that particular piano, in that particular hall, for that particular judge. On another day, at a different venue, using a different piano, with a different judge, a different student may very well be selected as the First Prize winner instead. What matters the most is not who wins and who doesn’t. What matters is that you have graciously accepted the challenge, set a goal for yourself, worked hard to master a difficult piece of music, and improved so much from the experience. [···]