Three Up

Yesterday I had one of those days when teaching is the best job in the world:

1. A little girl was too zonked to come to piano, so her mother took her spot.  Alyson has been having difficulty with practicing, so I took some of the pressure off a few weeks ago by allowing her to "quit," on the condition that she would "help teach her mom" how to play what she knew already.  This clever ploy enabled us to monitor her progress in the hope that she'd eventually want to return to her own lesson.

Her mother and I worked together on a piece she and her daughter are studying.  I mentioned that I'd noticed Alyson paying much closer attention to her mother's playing than she ever did to her own.  "She is a very good teacher," her mom said, "Very gentle.  She learned that from you; I can tell.  She won't even say anything, just tap the finger I need to play -- the way you do.  And she's very encouraging; both of my daughters are."  (Her other daughter, Charissa, has been studying with me for years -- long enough to know my foibles.)  I tried to deflect some of this praise, but she was persistent.  "I'm so glad my daughters have a positive role model to imitate -- someone I want them to be like.  When I see your influence over them, I'm glad."

2. Kari has always had trouble listening and matching pitch when it comes to vocalization.  But I was shocked to see that our weeks of practice last semester had paid off: after just a few minutes, she was able to sing along with me and even remembered the names and signs of the notes.  Her mother glowed.  "Kari sings all the time now, around the house.  She never used to, but I think she has more confidence because she knows she can sing with you."

3. I know I shouldn't have favorites, but really, this little boy and his father are a blessing.  They love music and practice regularly; they arrive and pay on time; they never make excuses.  At the end of the lesson, they thank me profusely and exit without tracking mud onto my carpet or leaving a pile of toys or Cheerio crumbs for me to clean up.  They leave me smiling.