I met with a relatively new teacher today. She lives a distance from me, and although we share a lot professionally, we had not gotten together. What a privilege to shares common stories and ask each others opinions on work matters. Independent music teachers can live in caves, so to speak. We can do our own thing, make our own policies and never come out of the hole to see what others are doing. What do others do about absences, practicing schedules, summer lessons? It's wonderful to talk-that's one of the reasons I am a big fan of the annual music teacher convention-2 days of colleagues. I wish we could have chatted longer.
A memory came back during our conversation. A few years ago, I went to a salon style recital. It was a beautiful room that held perhaps 150 people and we had an outstanding up and coming nineteen year old young artist in our midst. The Steinway was in the middle of the space. He played extremely challenging literature; he was fabulous. We had a champagne reception for him afterward, caviar, crackers, posh posh, when suddenly someone exclaimed, "It's Carolyn's birthday today! Let's sing!"
The prodigy was near the bench, so this room full of musicians turned, expecting him to lead us into the song. He turned ashen, and walked away from the piano. He stammered that he didn't know the piece. We all hastened to relieve his embarrassment by jumping into an a capella arrangement, but I'll never forget that moment.
I think about that every so often to this day. Am I giving my students ALL the tools they need? In the Mahna Mahna song I posted earlier today, I have used it to teach 1/2 steps that the leader sings. The student plays the leader part, I play the pink pig's. Who knows how crazy they think I am. I think I better check their Happy Birthday skills next week! I sure hope they know it.