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Adams Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 A Bad Fall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 A New Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

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Adams Problem
Adam! Mr. Peters is on the phone, Mom called. Adam stopped playing basketball. He knew why Mr. Peters was calling. The concert was only three weeks away. Adam still had to pick something to play. Adam didnt want to play anything. He had a terrible time at the last concert. Adam was playing from memory, and forgot what he had to play. He played the same melody over and over. Finally, he gave up. He bowed and got off the stagefast.

Adam never wanted to perform again. Adam? Oh, there you are! Just roaming around? Mom said. She came out into the backyard. Is Mr. Peters still on the phone? Adam asked. No, hes not. He wants you to call him back later. He needs to know what you want to play, said Mom. Adam hung his head and shrugged. He didnt care.

Mom mussed his hair. Look, I know youre still upset, she said. The way to get over it is to play again. Yeah, Horowitz, said another voice. Time to face the music. It was Adams older brother, Gary. Gary teased Adam by calling him Horowitz. The real Horowitz was famous for his playing. He was also famous for his stage fright. Easy for you to say, said Adam. You never mess up.

It was true. Gary was three years older than Adam. He also played the piano. Adam was shy, though. Gary loved playing for people. He never forgot his music. Gary was just coming home from soccer practice. His team had a game on the weekend. So, Horowitz, what are you going to play? Im going to play Mozart, Gary said. I dont know, Adam mumbled. Cant I skip this one, Mom? Why dont you think it over first? 5

Mom said. After you do, you ought to call Mr. Peters. Mom went back into the house. Gary and Adam played a little basketball. I heard you practicing yesterday, Gary said. You know that Copland piece really well. Adam said, I know I know it. Ive played it billions of times. I just get nervous on stage. Even the piano starts to look strange. Its different when I play at home. Pretend that you are home! Gary said. Thats all I do. Take a deep breath. Have fun with the music. I cant, Adam mumbled.

Well, I can suggest one other thing, Gary said. Make sure you know the music cold. Hey look, Dads home! I hope that means we eat soon! With that, Gary ran off. Adam followed a little more slowly. Maybe Garys right, he thought. I just need to practice more.

A Bad Fall
Later that night, Adam lay awake in bed. He had called Mr. Peters. He said he would play the Aaron Copland piece. Adam didnt feel good about the concert, though. He felt very nervous. Adam? You still awake? Dad asked from the doorway. Yeah, Dad, Adam answered. I hear youre worried about the concert, Dad said. You know, Adam, your mom and I love music. We want you boys to love it, too. We wont make you play if youre not enjoying it, though.

Adam sat up. Oh, I like music, Dad. I like to play. I just dont like playing for Suddenly, there was a call from Mom. Jim! Mom shouted. Jim, come down! Garys had a fall! Both Dad and Adam came hurrying down. Gary was sitting on the basement stairs. He had a cut on his forehead. He was holding his right wrist. What happened? Dad asked. I was coming up from the basement,

Gary said. I tripped on the stairs. Im OK, but I fell on my wrist. Mom, Dad, and Adam got Gary to the doctor. He was not badly hurt. His wrist was sprained, though. He would have to rest it for a while. Everyone was quiet going home. No soccer games for me, Gary said. I guess Im out of the concert, too. Adam felt terrible. He wished he could help.


A New Plan
Two days later, Adam had an idea. Hey, Gary! he yelled when he saw his brother. I know how you can be in the concert. How do you figure that? I cant sing or dance, Gary said. I dont know any poetry to recite. No. We can play a duet! said Adam. You can play left hand. Ill play right hand. Just pick something we both know! Gary thought for a minute. Thats not a bad idea, Horowitz, he said. What made you think of that?


Some kids were playing handball in the gym, Adam said. Two of them took turns hitting the ball. We could do the same kind of thing. Wait a minute. I thought you wanted out, Gary said. Do you want to play? Sure. This way Ill have company, Adam said. He felt a big weight leave his shoulders. We can play with our music, since its a duet. We dont have to memorize anything!


Right away, the brothers started practicing the piano. It was tricky at first. They had to get used to sitting together. They had to listen carefully to each other. Sometimes Gary played too fast. Adam could not keep up. At other times Adam played too loudly. The two parts were not equal. Adam made a list of things to practice.

Little by little, it started to come together. It sounded better and better every day. Adam started to prefer playing with a partner. Sometimes he forgot about everything else around him.


Finally, the day of the concert arrived. The hall was filled with parents, kids, and friends. Mom and Dad were there, too. Adam still felt a little nervous. Gary still teased him. Remember, Horowitz, he said, youre playing right hand. Youll be closer to the audience than me.


Mr. Peters told the audience about the program change. He told how Gary had hurt his wrist. Adam walked out first, followed by Gary. The boys bowed. They took their places at the keyboard. Gary leaned over and said, Remember, Adam. Take a deep breath. Dont forget to listen. Have fun with the music. They put their hands on the keys. As they had practiced, Gary made a nod. They started to play.

1 What did the title tell you about the story? 2What is the suffix in the following words: slowly, loudly, carefully ? 3 What do you think is the main idea of this story? 4 What did you learn about piano playing from reading this story? 5How were Gary and Adam alike? How were they different? 6 Are you more like Adam, or Gary? Explain
your answer. Performing Write a paragraph about a
time you had to perform in front of an audience. Were you nervous? How did you prepare for the performance? How did it go?

Think and Respond

School-Home Connection Put on a performance for your family. You can sing a song, recite a poem, read aloud, or play a musical instrument. Later, talk about how you felt.

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