Tuesday, October 07, 2008

spt -- #7 of 100

I love Lelly's challenge this month: for the date of every Tuesday in October, do a self-portrait for the corresponding number of your 100 list.

I wasn't super thrilled about my #7 (I teach piano lessons), but I did it anyway because I don't really have any pictures of me with my students. I just happened to have 3 lessons today, but I could only convince one of them to do an sp with me!


It's a pretty scary picture of me, but it's a testament to how I love Lelly and Self-Portrait Tuesday that I'm posting it anyway...

Anyway. I can't exactly remember how long I've been teaching lessons, but I think I started when Lucas was a baby, in 1999. Marc suggested I try teaching piano as a form of extra income, but I was worried that I didn't have the skill or the credentials. After talking with his sister Michelle, who also used to teach piano, I decided I could probably do it. I dove in, and soon realized that I definitely had the skills I needed. I'm not a concert pianist, and my students won't likely be concert pianists, either, but I love music and I have a feel for piano. A former R.S. president told me that I have a sensitive touch with the piano, and I like the sound of that.

I've taught a lot of different kids, many of them siblings, and it's been fun for me to get to know them, and their families as well. I quite often dread my lesson days, as they're usually my busiest days (and I tend to dread obligations), but when the students arrive, I actually enjoy them (most of them). I've taught challenging students who can't concentrate, easy students who love to practice, and students who try to memorize the finger numbers rather than the notes. Right now I even have a student who is in her 50's! When Marc heard she wanted to take lessons, he asked me what I was going to teach her (she was our ward organist). I wasn't sure, but it's been about 9 months and we haven't run out of things to work on yet.

I've tried to teach piano to Max and Lucas, and that has surely been a difficult task. I feel sure that they wouldn't whine or "forget" to practice if their teacher wasn't their mom. Max got through several levels before he switched to cello. I wish he would continue with piano, as he has a natural ability, but he practices the cello so much -- and loves it so much -- that I don't feel like I can really push him in that regard. Lucas just fights me like crazy.

So there you have it. Being able to play the piano is a skill that has served me well, from allowing me to: be the jazz choir accompanist in 7th grade, be a primary pianist (best calling in the world) and choir accompanist, be a piano teacher and given me a nice little supplementary income, accompany myself and others, and play for pure pleasure. Thanks again, Mom & Dad, for giving me lessons!

26 comments:

Michelle @ A Happy Heart said...

Such a nice post Michelle! It's been so hard teaching my girls - it's just not the same as another teacher. I am giving it a few more months and will decide to hire someone else or not. I love your thoughts about playing for yourself and having the ability to play in church. You are definately using your talents!

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

I'm so glad you documented piano lessons, Michelle. I think you will always be glad you did. Primary pianist is a calling I have enjoyed, too. The kids don't mind sour notes as bad as adults do in Sacrament meeting.

"I tend to dread obligations." I hadn't thought to label it as that, but I felt the feeling the minute I read it.

What a great talent that just keeps growing and influencing.

Denise said...

I am so grateful for the piano teachers in my life and the lives of my children. I feel I owe them all a debt of gratitude for sharing the gift and love of music with me and my family. And it sure is a handy skill to have in your back pocket.

Dacia said...

I so wish that I could have taken lessons when I was young. Good for you that you have the talent to teach it to others.

linda said...

One of the things I mentioned on my 100 Things About Me List is that I would love to learn how to play the piano and plan on taking lessons someday. If I lived near you...you could very well have yet another 50 year old student on your hands.

linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
crystal said...

I dread obligations, too.

You'd be a fun teacher.

lelly said...

i think it's wonderful that you took a moment to document your teaching. i taught a handful of students when jack was very young. i feel much of the same - i dreaded the *obligation* but i loved the lessons once they were underway.

i grew up with my mom teaching lessons after school. just being around those lessons is a wonderful memory for me. (she was very wise, and sent me to a different teacher!)

Liz said...

I think it is fabulous that you can play the piano so well! Even better that you can earn a little extra by teaching piano too! I wish I played well enough for that.

Jill said...

I think you look cute in that self-portrait! It's great that you are documenting the history of you teaching piano lessons and your feelings (good and bad) about it. This is one of your MANY talents, but one the blogging world (and even me) don't get to see often.

Amanda L. said...

So interesting. I dread obligations too...although never articulated it as such until I read your thought.

I think you are sharing your talents well with others and having a wonderful influence on these students.

amy m said...

I think it's beautiful the way you share your talent with so many. I only wished you lived closer so Tess could take lessons from you.

wende said...

this is not a bad photo of you!

we have piano talent, gone string player at our house too. i promise that kids whine and forget even when you're not the teacher! you're lucky to have max who loves to practice? what the? my kids all love their instraments but hate to practice. what can you do...

i also dread my obligations. i'm this way with visiting teaching...i hate making the appts but i love it once i'm there!

i'm glad that piano has enriched your life so much! maybe some day my kids will be thanking me too. but i'll not hold my breath! :)

Jeanette said...

Good for you! You've inspired me to get back to playing the piano. I haven't played in so long. Silly.

Janna said...

I was the one who would memorize the numbers not the notes...

Rachael said...

I wish I could play. I have thought about getting lessons but feel too old to learn it!

Lene said...

I would love to play the piano. I took a piano class in college and was bad -- really bad.

Holly said...

I wish I had developed a musical skill when I was younger. It's so good you are using your talent this way--and making a bit of cold hard cash to boot.

I feel the same way about certain obligations, but then once they are over I feel such relief.

Hannah said...

It is so cool that you teach and had this opportunity to post about it. I think you would be the perfect teacher and hope we can get a piano someday so my girls and Linc can take from you!

MaryRC said...

what a wonderful talent. my children both take lessons. my son really wants to play the guitar. every single "working" musician I know has said to me "make him learn to play piano first" so it is a bit of a drag for him, but he is almost done with theory, then its on to the guitar. my girl loves it and is motivated..

mommy nurse said...

Two of my kids are taking piano lessons and because of the expense my third has switched to clarinet with the school band. It was a great start for her to learn how to read notes. I wish I had your talent...but the only thing I can do musically is buy a note!

Susan said...

WAY too cute of a self portrait!! I love the curly version of your new do.

I think you would be the perfect teacher. And that's the end.

carlo said...

love the spt with your student. hearing about your patience via jill, i think you would be a great teacher.

my ellie so wants to take lessons. we don't have a piano mind you but she mentions it frequently...

Amie said...

I forget that you teach piano (and that you have ONE MORE talent!)... I can see dreading it on the schedule but I think it is so cool that you share your talents and "they" pay you for doing so... I love the SPT assignment this month.

Barb said...

I think that is a totally cute picture of you. In fact I SPT'd ahead for my post for the 21st and I tried to copy the smile you did here. It didn't turn out the same, but it is different than my usual 'picture face'.

Robyn said...

I think it's great that you teach lessons. You must be very patient. I wish we lived closer so you could teach my kids piano! I am trying to convince Austin to start lessons again. He said, "No, I only do active things." Hmf. What do I say to that?

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