Harry awoke in the Gryffindor common room with a start. Watching Voldemort's movements in his dreams made him ache, and made him angry. This time, nothing serious had happened; he observed his mortal enemy speaking gently to his monstrous snake, Nagini. No battle plans, no murders, no meeting, just a private moment between the most evil wizard ever to have lived, and his familiar.
More than ever he was determined to work on the Occlumency lessons he had undertaken with Professor Snape. His most despised teacher, and yet he knew so much. Harry knew that Snape resented having him in his life more than was necessary, and Harry felt he was being directly taught nothing, merely attacked. However, Harry resented metaphorically sharing his bed with the brutal, twisted, unloving, unforgiving shade of a man formerly known as Tom Marvolo Riddle. Yawning in a way that shook and stretched every tired muscle of his body, he gathered his thoughts. The lessons were a debacle; Snape sifting through his mind for every humiliating moment was taxing his strength and his will, and he never instructed him how to throw it off, not really. "Clear your mind" was such a vague instruction it almost reminded him of Trelawney, though he knew that Snape was not grabbing at straws the way she did. Snape knew how to do it.
Perhaps that was the problem. Quidditch was Harry's foremost innate talent, a skill he always had without ever being taught, without even knowing it existed until the age of eleven. He could not begin to instruct someone on how to fly the way he did, he just knew what to do. Trying to teach someone how to do it was as ridiculous as teaching them to have his messy hair, or his handwriting. It was a part of him that he could neither explain nor change, only hone. Could it be the same for Snape? Is teaching Occlumency as absurd to him as teaching how to have his distinctive hooked nose, or his stealthy, sweeping stride? If so, did that mean that he could never learn it, from Snape or from anyone?
That had always been Snape's way, never directly instruct, but always correct mistakes. In the dreaded Potions dungeon he would observe, he would mock, he would correct, but Harry did not think that he taught. Snape expected everyone to have his instinctive brewing skills, his comprehension of the complex interactions between ingredients. He saw an exploding cauldron not as ignorance or a simple mistake, but laziness and carelessness; he took failure as a personal affront.
It suddenly made more sense: if Snape found these things very easy from birth, then he wouldn't know that other people aren't necessarily intentionally stupid, just that these skills he found as easy as breathing were actually quite difficult. If this was the case, then what Snape truly needed was to face something immensely difficult, and fail. Hermione had, after all, done the same, all the way back in their first flying lesson. She had read everything on the subject, but none of it mattered because she couldn't even get her broom to rise. That was the day she learned that some things can't be taught through books alone, and Harry and Ron privately agreed that it was the most important and productive lesson she had ever had.
Harry felt that bright, warm feeling of a subversive plan being born. Snape must fail. He must learn something difficult, unfamiliar, and not magical. He recalled Dumbledore’s words at the Yule Ball last year: “Ah, music! A magic beyond all we do here.” That was it! Snape must learn to play an instrument!