Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Epic failure--revised

Not long ago, I wrote this post about teaching my daughter to play piano.  Today, I started reading My Story, My Song by Lucimarian Roberts.  In a chapter called "Singing because I must", under the heading "Born to make music", this is what she said:

"Somehow I was able to hear a song, then sit down at the piano and replicate it in my own style.  Some might say it was a gift, unexplained except by the grace of God.  However, I don't think my piano teachers would have agreed that it was a gift at all!

Times were hard and money was scarce, but my resourceful mother found a way to pay for piano lessons.  I remember eyeing the first teacher's long, bony fingers and sensing her stern disposition, a precursor of her teaching style.  She seemed to delight in having me repeat scale exercises while constantly correcting my fingering patterns.  After just a few weeks, she informed my mother that she was wasting her time since I already had formed terrible piano techniques.  

Not long after, a second piano teacher came to the same conclusion.  She was a talented musician, firmly entrenched in classical music, especially the compositions of Bach, Beethoven, and Haydn.  But my mother noticed that my joy was draining away under the teacher's instruction.  Though she never dismissed the value of lessons and persistence, my mother recognized that formal piano training wasn't a good match for my play-by-ear style.  Once the lessons ceased, my joy returned."
As I read this, I realized that I am not an epic failure, and neither is Sarah!  The girl is just not meant to suffer under classical training.  Instead of considering her a piano flunkie and myself  a worthless teacher, I now consider myself wise in setting her free to use her God-given musical gifts joyfully!  The result is the same...I'm not subjecting myself and her to hours of frustratration trying to fit her into a mold she was never meant to fill...but this new perspective has completely changed my attitude about it.  Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Amy, my sister-in-law who recommended the book to me, probably for this very reason. 

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