2007-02-22 - 11:54 a.m.
M's new piano teacher is fantastic. Of course, she had not really practised. Part of that is a time issue (she's been sick, and had a lot of homework), but part of it I actually think has a lot to do with a whole bunch of things discussed in an article by Po Bronson in New York Magazine that Harriet mentions in an entry at AJ's Clubhouse (scroll down to Feb. 17). Essentially, if she doesn't practice, she will still be potentially great. If she does practice, and she's terrible (as she fears), it will be revealed to all, and all will know she's a terrible piano player. What needs to happen is for the whole thing to move from something you can be great or terrible at, to something you can enjoy and take pleasure from. Other people might also enjoy what you're playing, and you might enjoy that they're enjoying it, but the true point of it needs to be that it's something she enjoys doing for herself. At least, that's what I think it should be.
Anyway, He was great. He didn't get mad at her for not having practiced -- he just worked with her through the stuff she was supposed to have done. It's all really easy, which is also good, because there's no stress in playing it, really. And she learned a song (The Monkees' I'm a believer purely by ear (it was illustrating some theory point that is completely beyond me, but that she actually got because she's good at theory), and worked on a really easy round, and a duet, and essentially learned the last piece at the lesson, playing first the right hand and then the left hand while he did the other. He is kind and interesting and a little quirky and I think he really gets what the problem is. Really, he is very very quirky in a totally great way. Also, he's one of those people who have the knack for creating a really comfortable and interesting and completely idiocyncratic space. He reminds me of my friend Jon from college. He has a piano, of course, and two chairs just so placed near the window, and he seems to be reading greek poetry. And he has a lovely metal teapot. I really think it will work, and be a great thing for M. I hope, at least.
And poor N has been working and working. She was up late again last night with something. I'm a little worried that she's given up the extracurricular things she used to do -- soccer, flute, diving -- and is now buried under a crushing load of work. If she enjoys the work, then that's okay. But I'm a little worried that she's in a twitchy in between place, where she's almost enjoying it, but possibly not. Then again, I think this is completely usual for high school juniors (from what I hear from everyone). Usual, perhaps, but not necessarily good. Anyway -- I wish there were other things she was doing just for enjoyment. One more thing to worry about, I suppose.
There was a thing on NPR this morning about colleges, and how people are saying the hell with this, and looking for smaller, less known colleges -- actually looking for the education, I guess, rather than the name.
Rats! Our strategy revealed!
But it makes a lot of sense -- I see it, actually, even in the Middle School rat race here. There are some rather prestigious and competitive middle schools here, and I was quite worried that Middle School A was the only place N would get a decent education. But Middle School B was actually a far superior place -- the academics were great, and there was a real emphasis on the whole kid, and not so much on where the kid was eventually going to go to college.
Okay. I'm actually in the middle of writing some other thing for work (gasp, yes, work!). So I guess I'd better finish it, and then eat lunch.
It's cold here, and rainy. Lovely, in fact. Our bedroom is really nothing but a closed-in porch with lots of windows all around and not much of a roof. (There is a roof, but we're right under it.) It is lovely in the rain -- you can really hear it, and see the poor wet garden. It's great.
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