Plonk, plunk, plank. Violet banged noisily on the electronic piano.
Her older sister Mabel came into the room, holding her hands over her ears. “What is this racket, Violet?”
“I’m making music.” Violet flipped a switch on the keyboard. She banged some more.
Strange and terrible souns floated out.
"Here. Let me show you the right way to do it.” Mabel sat down next to her little sister on the bench and began to play a march.
Mabel’s hands flew over the keys. She had taken piano lessons since first grade.
Now she was in third grade. She could play a march, a waltz, and a dance, and lots of other things, too.
Only last week, her teacher had praised her highly. “Good work, Mabel,” she said. “You are making progress.”
Mabel loved making progress. She loved doing things the right way.
Violet never wanted to do things the right way. She only wanted to do things her way.
When Mabel tried to show her what to do, Violet didn’t like it. She scowled at her older sister.
“You always hog the piano,” she accused.
“It’s called practicing,” Mabel explained patiently.
"So?” Violet was in kindergarten. She didn’t practice anything. She did whatever she wanted. That didn’t include piano lessons.
Mabel played the last few bars of the march. She didn’t miss a single note.
When she was done, she turned to her little sister. “See? That’s real piano playing.”
“I like my music,” Violet said stubbornly. She began to thump on the piano keys again.
Mabel went over to the bookshelf and took out some sheet music. She glanced at the clock.
“Ten minutes, Violet,” she said. “Then it’s my turn again.”
Mabel still had a couple more pieces to practice. She wanted to get them perfect before her next lesson.
Violet didn’t answer. One by one, she pounded on the black keys.
“Those are the sharps and flats,” Mabel said in her best teacher voice.
“Sharps? Flats?” Violet repeated in disbelief. “No way.”
“Sharps and flats are sounds,” Mabel explained.
"You’re teasing me.”
“Believe it or not, that’s what the black keys are called.”
“Keys?” Violet said, banging extra hard on them. “Pianos don’t have doors.”
“They’re musical keys, silly!” Mabel said in exasperation. “When will you ever learn?”
Violet thumped out a few more horrible sounding chords. Her skinny legs dangled off the edge of the piano bench.
Mabel put her fingers in her ears and waited for her to finish.
Violet crashed and bashed on the piano. Then she turned around. “Did you hear that, Mabel?”
“Yes,” Mabel groaned.
“Isn’t it beautiful?”
Mabel rolled her eyes. “Yes, Violet. It’s beautiful.”
Violet got up from the bench and bowed. “Your turn, Mabel! I know how to share.”
“You sure do, Violet.” Before her little sister could change her mind, Mabel slid onto the piano bench and began to play.