Monday, February 27, 2012

Outside The ‘Music Box’: A Different Sort of Piano Lesson


        This past Thursday I gave a piano lesson that was unlike any other I’ve ever given….and it was so rewarding that I want to share it with you!

     While I am a firm believer in keeping lessons professional, I don’t ever want that to stop me from being sensitive to the needs of my students.

     I teach several students from the Bible Institute at our church.  One of these is a sweet young lady who spent her whole life in Brazil. This past September she came to Canada to attend college.  She has has been a delight to teach, but lately more and more I’ve seen evidences of the culture shock that she is going through.  In talking with her mother recently, I realized just how difficult being in Canada has been on her. She is a strong young lady, and has never complained. But she has struggled.

     In thinking of how I could encourage her,  I began to realize that while it is important to be professional, sometimes it’s good to let even our students know, in a practical way, that we really care about them and about what’s going on in their lives.

     So what was this “outside the music box” lesson like?  Well, my student came to my house as usual.  I greeted her as usual and opened her assignment notebook as usual.  I asked her to play her scale for me, as usual.  Then I told her that the lesson was on me, and asked her if she wanted to go to the mall with me.  I needed to go to Bath & Body Works, of course!   She reluctantly happily agreed.


     It worked out perfectly since she was my last lesson of the evening. We drove by her dorm and picked up her roommate (who is also my student) and  headed to Wendy’s for a bite to eat. Then we hit the Bath & Body Works store (new to our part of Canada and our mall) where I treated them to some girly stuff.  We had a great time!  I did a bit of shopping too- you can’t let those 3 for $10 and 3 for $5 deals go when you have a party of 3 people!

     I don’t know if or when I’ll get the opportunity to have a “lesson” like this again, but it sure was rewarding to try something different and connect with my students on a different level. I do realize that this is impractical from the standpoint of a busy studio and professionalism….and it probably wouldn’t work with kids.  But for me it was one of the outcomes of striving to see each student individually – when they are on my bench, they are my world.

How do you show individuality to your students? Have you ever had a lesson that was “outside the music box?”  Leave a comment and share your idea!

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