Brynn had a recital in May. I can't remember if I've said much about piano since I quit teaching, so here we go. I've been teaching since I was 16 (with a short hiatus right after we got married). I love it. It energizes me. It keeps me involved with music. But while I was pregnant with Camille, our life had gotten completely crazy and chaotic. Not many-kids-running-around-chaos, more like remember-when-we-used-to-be-married-and-have-family-dinner chaos, and I was so not ready for that. I had never ever felt like I didn't want to teach any more, but that's when the feeling finally hit. I was burned out. Plus, I was doing a horrible job teaching Brynn and I never wanted to be that piano teacher, whose own kids don't play. I felt really good about the decision, and a year later I still feel good about that decision. But I was emotional about it for, like, weeks.
Anyway, Brynn and I had a great year of piano together! When Marty and I were engaged, he mentioned how great it was that we'd never have to pay for piano lessons since I could just teach our own kids. I informed him that I would not be teaching our own kids. I had heard so much about how hard it is, I didn't even want to go there. But now that I actually have my own, I really want to teach them! So I'm learning some things.
- I can give her hugs and kisses during the lesson (which I've often been tempted to do, but it's not quite appropriate with other people's children!)
- I get to be in control of what and how she is learning.
- We bond. She has told me many times, in a sighing, Brynn type of way, "I'm so glad you're my teacher!"
- I don't need to have a panic attack if we have an unusually busy week. I just decide we will have lessons two days later than planned and give her a little extra time to practice. Or if someone is sick on lesson day, we can just try again the next day and don't have to wait a full week for the next lesson. Also, if the songs were easy and she's got them down in two or three days, we don't have to wait around.
- I know the songs well enough that I can be making dinner in the kitchen and yell to her in the other room, "You're missing the "A" in the second measure! And it's an eighth note!" Which probably doesn't drive her crazy in the least.
- I get to do all the shopping around for her music (I love shopping for music).
- After pushing her to do her chores, her reading, her homework, and everything else, sometimes I'm totally out of patience. At anyone else's lesson I'm probably one part "strict teacher" and two parts "smiliest human being ever". But at her lesson, "strict teacher" comes across as "mean mommy who is mad at me." Partly because she's sensitive, and partly because I'm mean and mad because I know what she is capable of. I've already made her cry a number of times. But after the first few instances of losing patience I am making an extra effort to just go deeper into the Mommy Patience Well and we are adjusting to each other just fine.
- The bad part about being able to push a lesson back a few days is that it's all too easy to push it back a few weeks. Yep, we've done that.
- If I don't have any other students, it makes for a very small recital! I was probably as worried about this as anything else when I quit teaching. But a piano teacher moved in just behind our house (seriously, I think I prayed her here), and she has been gracious enough to let Brynn play at her last recital!
Bryce has been observing all of this piano business closely. As I've mentioned before, he is convinced that he and Brynn are the same in all respects and should be in the same phases of life at all times. He has been begging me for lessons, but I keep telling him he had to wait until he started reading. So he started learning how to read and he informed me he could now start. Then I told him he had to wait until he turned five. So he turned five, and he didn't forget! So, I've started teaching him, too. He's lucky, because I'm sure I'll be much more consistent with his lessons than I was with Brynn's in the beginning (now that I have two of them to remind me!). Actually, I have two pianos. I have the one I played on when I lived at home and one I got at a garage sale for $50. I originally bought the second so that I could get my older students judged on concertos, but apparently the NFMC doesn't do that in AZ. So it hasn't gotten any use until now! It needs lots of work, but Bryce call's it "my piano" and often I'll have them both going at once just one room away. It's loud, but it works just fine for me because it turns a potential piano-dedicated hour of my day into a half hour. Anyway, he is doing great! I'm taking it slow with him right now and having half-sized lessons and practice, but he has stayed really focused for a five year old boy! It's another one of those times I stop cursing his determination and remember to embrace it.
And I'm still plugging away at organ, playing some classical music about once a week, and my violin has gathered dust for about six years now (so has Marty's trombone). So that is where all of our music is at! We have lots of dreams, but "quiet time" is wrapping up at our house, so the dreams will have to wait to be recorded...