Monday, January 5, 2015


The first week back to school brought something to my attention. Several of my students came in, sat down, and shamefully suggested that they haven't practiced as much as they should have over the summer. They gave me a sideways, pained glance. This happened enough times Monday and Tuesday, that Wednesday I decided to be proactive. After each returning student got seated at the bench, I stated that although there were some suggestions written for August in their notebooks, that I had no expectations for their lesson today. We were going to start fresh.

I plan to be forgiving again this week, even though there should be a lot of work accomplished and there are big music deadlines ahead. Much of their lives are out of their control. They have been at Grandma's, had company, gone places or been ill. They have had siblings home, parents home, the schedule has been interrupted over and over. Many of my students have been driven places, taken places, and forced to be places that prohibit them from piano. I know this because it's how my life was.

I did not practice over Christmas. I had so many other obligations. I am wildly lesson planning over the weekend, setting my recital details, and doing paperwork. It's just how it is.

A student in high school might have a pop quiz today, but it is a rare day when I've heard that elementary or middle school expect them to hit the ground running. When they come to school, they are hopefully ready for a new year, maybe some new teachers, and new ideas and are refreshed. I want them enthusiastic and anticipating music, learning, and a freshness that coming back to the same room, the same studio and the same teacher might not otherwise afford.

We have a very busy schedule upcoming and they'll be reminded this week. They'll have one piece to play for the recital this weekend, or they won't, and I will try hard to meet them where they are. I'd want the same.

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