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Sheila Doesn't Like First Endings


Learning to navigate D.C. al fine, D.S. al Coda and even simple repeats is pretty basic stuff, but it’s easy to miss these signs in the midst of sight reading a new piece. The page turning that ensues is almost never convenient.


My student Sheila announced last week she doesn’t like first endings. She only likes second endings, she let me know in no uncertain terms, as she crossed out the first ending with her freshly sharpened pencil.


Fair to say the first ending never ends the piece so it seems fair to give a nod to her inclination to just get on with things. (She is British after all.) First endings are clearly redundant in Sheila’s music world, and she doesn’t care to revisit something she’s just stated.

I understand this isn’t always appropriate, but I admire her take on things. How often do we go back, trying to fashion our lives as they once were, looking for what’s already been, rather than moving forward? No matter how we try, we can never recreate something just as it was, because everything has already changed.


As for me, I do like the first endings, and the second endings, and I usually take any indicated repeats as well, searching for all the little gems I might have missed the first time around. I do, however, keep a close eye out for the sign that tells me when to take the coda, knowing all things must come to an end.


After all, there’s always something new and exciting on different page.

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