It doesn't happen that often, you know. You teach them for years, see them through braces, first dates, drivers licenses and prom. You watch them mature musically and then they race headlong toward the sun. Most do not recall our hard work. I don't contact my former teachers other than the once a year Christmas greeting. But I received a note that said,
"I tried college a couple of times but couldn't stand the atmosphere, too much bureaucracy. I've worked a staggering variety of dead-end service jobs...a couple of months ago I decided that I would learn how to tune pianos, which would be more fun than making pizzas and there's more money in it too. It's mostly a matter of
practice. It will take 4 or 5 years to get really good at it, but I'm excited, I think this will work out well. One thing I need to do now is re-learn some of those classical pieces so I have something to play when I'm finished tuning an instrument. So I wanted to say thanks, you were a great teacher and without those lessons it's very unlikely that this great opportunity in front of me now would ever have materialized."
I could not have asked for a better birthday gift. I think when I'm done teaching tonight, I'm going to go out and make a little night music and celebrate.