It was just an hour before the night’s concert, when the first oboe player realized his instrument had been damaged, so there was trepidation in his heart when he went to inform the great Maestro Toscanini that he could not play that evening because his instrument could not hit an e flat.
At hearing the news, the Maestro looked straight ahead and said nothing. The oboe player’s anxiety increased a minute later, when the Maestro put his hands to his head, and remained silent. A few seconds later, the Maestro looked at the player and told him he could play the entire program that evening because there were no e flats in the oboe program. (While the oboe player had been quaking, Toscanini had reviewed the night’s music in his head.)
When I look out at an incoming class of new boys, I can sometimes see them masking their fears. I’d like to be able to tell them that, I’ve played through their programs, and that while they may encounter some bumps in the road, they won’t have to deal with any e flats either.