Sometimes I think I really need to find a real job and stop just teaching music part time. I never had any deep desire to be a piano teacher, I sort of fell into it because I play piano well and I accompanied at a Suzuki school, and had nothing better to do than get training. So I waver on why I’m really doing this, and spend time thinking of what I could do instead.

And then I get lessons like the one I taught today.

The piece was beautiful. There were flawless accents, in the first piece this student had played accents in, ever. There was beautiful phrasing, dynamics, ritardando at the recapitulation and at the end of the piece, and there was a sonorous, legato left hand that did not overpower the right hand melody. And the root of all that was perfect hand position, perfect posture, and a good ear.

This student has only played since September, with no prior musical instruction. There are older siblings who studied various instruments, but this was the first formal study for this student.

What I’m realizing is, all my students have the ability to play as beautifully as this student did, and many of them do. But the timeline is not the same. Watching this student learn is like time whizzing by; watching other students, time crawls. Some seem to take big leaps, while others take baby steps, and yet they are all taking the same path.

I hope I can learn to appreciate the ones who move slowly as well as the ones who race ahead. Because I have more students who are moving slowly, and are making beautiful music inch by painful inch, not in a giant leap. They will all progress, but it takes time. Time and patience.

If I learn nothing else from this endeavor I hope it will be patience for the slow and painful process of learning to create beauty. And learning that there is beauty in the process, too.


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