It being September, new students are joining me for lessons. I don't have too many
openings, but there are a few.
Yesterday, I met Rachel, a charming, beautiful, delightful child of just over 5; she will
be among my youngest. However, the first lesson I spent most of the time, rather
unusually, talking, and listening to her father.
After his strong handshake, he proceeded to give me a rather
detailed description of his daughter. More than just the introduction of a proud
father, it was the presentation--and it was that--of some kind of a corporate
executive. And I think he is--more on that later.
He told me in corporatese of his daughter's interests, and intelligence, her strengths
in reading and social skills, as told to him by his daughter's private school teachers. He
told me how he and his wife both work, and wouldn’t be able to spend the time to assist
Rachel in her practice--and that there wouldn't be an instrument in the house for a while;
she would practice at school. But money is "not a problem" for them.
Then, he asked if he could use my white board to make a few notes(!). Which he did. I
have never had a parent do that before! That was fine, but so improbable. He also
worked out the points of his discussion with the salesperson regarding possible purchase
of an instrument. And then, he presented his plan of attack!
My usual practice is to have a brief interview with the parent, or parents, and
they with me--nothing this formal. But I will accept almost anything from a parent,
since it is not them I will be working with. And I have discovered that the most delightful
children often come from the strangest, most difficult parents.
At the end of the lesson, Rachel and I left her father consolidating, and copying his
notes, to get her her books from upstairs; it was the only time we were alone. Her father
demanded my attention; I wanted to work with the child!
The sales floor has mostly pianos, but some books. Here Rachel asked to learn a
song. So I taught her one--a quick, little one, on the black keys. Her father caught a bit of
it, as I first tried to teach it using three fingers. Then he went to pay for the books.
Of course, three fingers is too much for the very first one. So we worked with just
one. And she got it. But her father explained to her how I wanted her to use three
fingers; I can't wait to keep him away from the lessons.
Later, recounting this with my director, she asked about his strong handshake.
She felt that he is a motivational speaker, not the first that have brought their children to
The father I can handle. I remember the smile, and the brightest goodbye Rachel gave
me as I returned to my studio.