I took President's day weekend to visit with my daughter who is a freshman in college. I miss her a lot and am little by little getting used to the transition of having her away. I was a little sad to leave her and came home to the usual laundry, school lunches for my son, unpacking and cleaning the house. I was feeling overwhelmed, tired, on east coast time, and not quite ready when my first student arrived. I hadn't been out to the studio or checked on the state of the waiting room, which doubles as a den for our family, or refilled the student cookie jar! But anyway, 1:00 on Wednesday rolled around and I went out to greet my first student who was so cheerful and ready to play for me that I simply sat down and listened and felt my mood lift and peace of mind settle in. When I finished teaching that day, I thought about the students, what they had accomplished and learned over the week. A 9th grader who hadn't practiced much lately proudly came in and said she had learned the remaining scales for her Certificate of Merit technique level. (not an easy feat since the scales were f# and d# harmonic and melodic minor.) We were finally able to play through the technic chart well with her friend who has a lesson right after her. A 6-year old Kindergartner who had reached a tough point a few weeks ago was suddenly more focused and began to really understand how to "read" music in the pre-reading format and was excited to be able to play Yankee Doodle!
Teaching piano is the one part of my day that I can always count on to keep me fully engaged. It takes me out of my own head and allows me to just be for a while... no interruptions, no cell phones, email, or planning ahead. It keeps me right in the moment. My mom has always said that this job has gotten her through every good and difficult part of her life. More and more, I realize what she means. Seeing my students can lift my mood in a single moment, and the pleasure of seeing their smiling faces, and listening to the music they make is a truly special part of my life.