The sound of music

Pumpkin doesn’t like to play piano, lately. She wanted to quit for a while. Her argument is that she doesn’t like piano but taking it, and King doesn’t like sport, he’s ok not doing any.

I see her point.

It’s her who had asked for piano lesson when she was only 3 years old. Seeing Golfer playing, she wanted too. At first, we thought she was just playful, or out of curiosity.
But the little girl insisted few times.
I bought them to a teacher who lives near by. The teacher’s in her late 60 or early 70s, very artistic and her living room was full of pianos. But the kids and her didn’t seem to click. So I tried another friend’s, Mr. Li. We met him at the friend’s house. He asked my kids to play for him:
“Any thing, just to see how much talent do they have.”
Ok, Irene’s capable of breeding a couple of little Mozarts.
After the kids had fun on the baby grand, he announced to me that yes, indeed they’re very talented, hence he’d teach them.
Ok, whatever you say.
Then he started pressing me repeatedly if I have a parking space. Whatev!

I observed his teaching closely. He was very stoic and rigid, typical Chinese – golfer hated his piano teacher when he was young. So this didn’t work out at all.
Very unfortunately a couple of years later, he died after leaving a lesson in the neighboring town, slipped on the icy stairs after a huge snowstorm. His son sued the house owner, because the adult son just lost his meal ticket.

Anyway, back to my story. One day soon after meeting Mr. Li, I spotted a scarp paper sticking on the bulletin board at Alley Pond tennis center, looking for piano student. I called. The lady on the other end has high pitch voice, like a cheap salesman. I was debating. She claimed she’s a young grandmom, and yes she made house calls… I decided to pay her a visit, more out of curiosity than thinking I’d meet a teacher, for tennis isn’t the perfect thing for a pianist, and she gardens too. Aunt Jennie and my cousins who play violin for a living treasure their hands so much, they’d boil hot water to wash their hands in the winter in Beijing when BJ had no hot running water …

I went with a g/f who’s a son Pumpkin’s age. Lee’s living room has 3 pianos and dark, full of antiques. Her voice is still high, and bit nervous, but my kids took to her instantly. You could sense her passion for music. It’s pretty much what I was looking for, a cultured teacher who loves music. She entertained the 3 kids, even King said he won’t take it. Lee took out some percussions and had them played with it. She did it again when she came to give Pumpkin her first lesson. On her second visit, King changed his mind, announcing that he too, wanted to learn. Very soon, Golfer began taking lessons from her also. Through us, she built up her base, found enough kids to occupy her entire time, and to a point when she had to drop some from time to time. She’s picky too, lol. My trio keeps it on till today, nearly 10 years.

Lee (Elaine) is a German born in New York, with long music history, who lives her live to the fullest. Her hubby is an Irish who loves wine, music, and I’m sure women too. Her lesson would not just forcing the kids to play and practice, the topics are wide and unrestricted, mixing with little musicology, stories of composers, and even a little math at the beginning. I appreciate it very much, although we two adults would alienate each other from time to time :). She is extremely eccentric, so are her three kids, two older daughters all married with kids, a younger son who is as talented in music and architect and eccentric as the mother. One of her daughters got a grant to study Irish folk music in Ireland, she got divorced and went. Only came home soon after due to an auto accident there. Her son wanted a Porsche, so he got one. When he met a Texan girl online, falling in love, Lee bought/sold house for him to settle down. She’s perpetually late for the lessons, and would always have story to tell, to justify… They’re looking forward to my hotpot dinners during the winter, and reciprocate in the summer months with her shishi bbq dinners that ran into midnight.

Quitting it doesn’t sound like music to me, but I don’t force my kids. Hopefully one day they won’t regret for not being pushed hard.

Where lays the perfect balance?

About The Kibbitzer

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