About Reckless Girl Volume 2 Chapter 1 part 5

“But how concretely are we rebelling?” asked Kasumi.

At Kasumi’s words, Touri put her hand to her chin. The most orthodox method was for Tiffy to do her best and win at the competition. This would silence the old woman without question.

But things might not go so smoothly. Was it okay for her, the presumptive competition winner, to advise her opponent to aim for first place? Or should she get someone able to persuade the old woman on their side, or find some bargaining material to convince the old woman…

Running away from home was probably a bad idea…By the time Touri had thought that far with sensible logic,

“Roger!”

“Yes, Yuki-han.”

Yuki energetically raised her hand.

“We crush the old woman!”

“Wha-…!?”

With gusto, Yuki made a guts pose and proudly declared this, shocking Touri and making her spit out her drink. Crush the bad guys. It was decisive.

“Wai-…! Wait a minute, Yuki! Crush!? What do you mean crush!?”

“Oh, as expected of Yuki…” said Tiffy.

“Yuki-han’s a genius.”

“No!”

“Don’t agree, you two!” shouted Touri.

But the three didn’t stop their momentum.

“Leave the lockpicking to me,” said Kasumi.

“Then, do we need rope and stuff?” asked Yuki.

“What about hypnotism and brainwashing and stuff? No evidence left behind.”

“Cut it out!”

Touri rebuked the three who were enjoying imagining playing tricks and getting back at someone they hated, like naughty kids. She didn’t think they would actually do it, but it would be troubling if they got too out of hand, so she advanced the conversation.

“Rather than that kind of nonsense, do you have any other ideas?”

Kasumi clapped her hands lightly and casually brushed off everything they had discussed until now. As if she had never been serious from the start, she had a light attitude that made Touri start to think she was being made fun of.

“Hmm, if directly targeting the old woman is no good…how about harassing top prize candidates, or bribing the judges…” said Yuki.

“Yuki-han’s still in top form.”

“Can you only think of crooked plans?”

Touri could do nothing but be exasperated.

“Bribing the judges…that could work!” said Tiffy.

“Oh, Tiffy, you’re in favor of bribing the judges?” asked Yuki.

“Gonna hypnotize? Brainwash?” asked Kasumi.

“Cut it out!”

Touri rebuked the three who were enjoying imagining tricks and getting back at someone they hated. She didn’t think they would actually do it, but she advanced the conversation to prevent them from getting too out of hand.

“No! First you should think about getting first place in the competition normally!”

“Eh…?”

Seeing the faces of Yuki and Tiffy as if scales had fallen from their eyes, Touri doubted their moral character. Pushing past the question of what exactly she herself was doing, she spun her words.

“Special training!”

“Special training?”

“To seriously aim for first place in the competition! Special training for the competition!”

Touri declared loudly.

“Hmm~! Tiffy-chan is seriously aiming for first place in the competition~!? It’s like a dream! Is this a dream? I’m so moved…!”

When the circumstances were explained to the piano teacher, while sympathizing with Tiffy’s position, he was overjoyed that she was showing intention to do her best in the competition. He expressed his emotion, twisting his body around in the private piano lesson room.

“Please give me special training for the competition, Teacher.”

“Normally all the lessons here are practice for the competition, you know…But Tiffy-chan is special. Got it! I’ll work you hard, so be prepared!”

Seeing the teacher fired up and slightly flushed more than usual beside her, Tiffy sat at the piano chair. When she faced the piano, Tiffy’s expression changed a little. Her usually sleepy-looking eyes sharpened keenly. She was starting to concentrate.

Touri thought things had become a bit awkward. In anger at Tiffy being told to quit piano, she had advised her to aim for first place in the competition, but was it really okay for her, who would likely be the biggest obstacle, to say such a thing? And wasn’t watching her special training up close like this underhanded?

However, right now her fingers were about to strike the keys. She hesitated to speak up now or make noise opening the door and leaving the room. Touri could only stand rooted in place and listen to Tiffy’s performance.

The performance began. Although she was an unserious student, Tiffy was by no means unskilled. She fluently played the high-speed song with many connected notes. It was as if her fingers moved automatically, producing the music. Despite it being a fast-tempo song, she passionately kept playing intensely. Seeing Tiffy swaying deeply as she played, Touri caught her breath.

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“She’s still putting in arrangements. Look closely at the sheet music.”

Instruction came from the teacher beside her.

“Make the accompaniment part a little softer there. Make the main part stand out more.”

“…………”

“Be conscious of the turning points in the song. Don’t create any unnaturalness in the connections before and after.”

Tiffy’s playing responded sensitively to the teacher’s guidance, and the tone colors gradually changed. As if it were a living being, the sounds swayed and moved, and the teacher observed those fluctuations and made adjustments.

“Relax more there. The sounds are bouncing too much. Feel the melody well…”

“…………”

“You’re still playing by feel. Look at the sheet music more, look at the sheet music…”

For some reason, Tiffy suddenly stopped playing at that point. The performance halted and silence descended.

“…What’s wrong, Tiffy-chan?”

“…………”

Tiffy had her chin in her hand, pondering something. Seeing her state, the teacher and Touri tilted their heads. What was she worrying about? Was there something about playing this part that troubled her so much?

“…Teacher, Teacher. There’s something I’ve been wondering about for a while.”

“W-what is it?”

Hearing Tiffy start to speak, the teacher had an ominous feeling.

“..Is this form of performance really okay?”

“…Huh?”

Tiffy spoke.

“Of course, you give me ample…too much freedom, so I think you’re a good teacher, but…is the general way piano lessons instruct, telling students ‘play like this, play like that’ for each thing, really correct as musical training?”

“Wha-…What do you mean…?”

“Music is expression, and expression has no right answer. So there’s no clear answer that you have to play like this originally. So is the instructional approach of piano lessons that seems to present the ‘right’ answer of how to play really correct…? Isn’t expression something you can only grope around for in darkness…?”

“…………”

As Tiffy prattled on and on eloquently, the teacher’s face stiffened. Sweat flowed down his brow.

“Just what is the right form of musical instruction…?”

****

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*scene transition*

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****

“This is bad! Tiffy-chan has fallen into the pitfall of philosophical angst like a troubled college music student!”

The teacher held his head as Tiffy mulled it over. There was no use worrying over this right before the competition.

“T-Tiffy-chan? Tha-that’s something everyone struggles with, but…once you start worrying about it, there’s really no end, you know? No matter how many hundreds of hours you think about it, you can’t find the answer…So, uh, for now let’s not think about difficult things and just work hard on the lesson, okay?”

“But is it really right to rank musical expression at competitions and such…?”

“No good! Tiffy-chan! Don’t enter the world of philosophy now! That swamp is deep…!”

The teacher shook Tiffy’s shoulders vigorously out of great goodwill to keep her from falling into a swamp she’d have trouble getting out of once she entered it. Unable to watch any longer, Touri spoke up too.

“Tiffy, you don’t have time to worry about things like that! You have to get first place in the competition! So leave those thoughts alone and concentrate on practice now!”

“But stopping thought is death for an expresser, isn’t it?”

“Grr…Yuki! Kasumi! Say something to Tiffy to tell her to just take the lesson normally!”

“I have no idea what any of you are talking about!” said Yuki.

“The world of philosophy sure is deep,” muttered Kasumi.

“Grr…”

The two problem children were listening to this talk still holding their heads.


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