The other day a piano teacher who we see often was in our store looking at the books in our print department. We said hello and exchanged pleasantries and I proceeded to ask her “how are your students doing?” “Are you looking for anything in particular, etc.?”
Karen told me she had a 15 year old student whom she’d taught for years. They were kind of at a plateau in her lessons. Other interests ( boys, sports, social media) were creeping in and she wanted to find something that would spark her interest again. I made a few suggestions and left her looking through the racks while I returned to my office.
While I was at my desk, I could hear her playing this piece, then switching to another piece, and another piece. She was trying to find just the right song for her student to play. Something a little different, not too difficult but not too easy either so she’d have to stretch a bit to learn the piece.
After about an hour, I was back on the floor and saw she was only just finishing up. She headed to Christy, at the sales counter, to purchase her selections.
“Found what you were looking for?” I asked. Grinning with relief, she said “Oh yes, I’ve got some really good stuff here for her and a few of my other students”
After she left I thought about how lucky her students were and that I’d bet none of them or their parents would have a clue about how much time and effort she spent trying to find a piece of music for their child. A piece of music that would inspire them to continue learning one of the most wonderful, lifelong gifts they would ever receive, the absolute joy of making music at the piano.
Did you notice that the teacher wasn’t being paid while they shopped? They spent their own time and their own money to purchase the music, with no guarantee it would do the trick…….
Teachers teach because they want to share. They want to share their love of music, the joy of giving AND receiving this amazing gift. And I’ll tell you, they certainly don’t do it for the money.
I’m sure no music teacher ever retired with enough money to live on some island in the pacific, sipping mai tai’s from a coconut and having their feet rubbed while soaking up the sun. They just can’t help it. It’s kind of like when you’re standing in a crowd watching an amazing event and you can’t help but look at the person next to you, stranger or not, and say, “isn’t this awesome?!!!”
So think about this the next time you’re running late to your lesson or tempted to skip out at the last minute because you’re tired or your child had soccer that day, too. Music teachers give……and give and give. Tell them how much you appreciate them today. I promise, it will literally be “music to their ears.”