Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Charlie's taking piano lessons. I have the sweet task of sitting with him to guide and monitor his practicing. So far, so good. He wants to do his own thing at the piano, but he's got a good teacher, and he seems to like her, though he's only had two lessons.

I want him to love his lessons. He's supremely musical, and loves to play. A half hour of practicing just flies by, which is a lot for a five-year-old - 10 minutes is suggested.

I loved my piano lessons as a kid. And my first teacher was a good one; in fact, I still have her notes - for every single one of my lessons from her - and I'm using the early ones to come up with exercises for Charlie - they're still extremely useful. She used to give me a star when I had a good lesson when it was clear to her that I'd practiced. I got a lot of them :o)

After a certain point, I more or less outgrew my first teacher, and was lucky enough to get an exceptional teacher who also became a friend. She was so very musical, and seemed to genuinely like us teenagers; my lesson would usually overlap with that of a guy from my high school who was studying the same grade. That way we could listen to each other's progress. Another thing we (my younger brother took lessons from her too) all loved about her was she had us play our favourite stuff for her, not just the curriculum pieces.

Then, once I got to university, I took lessons from a teacher at the faculty of music. I only took them for a year, but she was also great, most notably expanding my musical palate to include Scriabin and Scarlatti, and helping me be able to play longer without my back hurting.

I could go on and on about all three of my teachers, but I will mention their names because none of them should go unthanked. So, I thank the three piano teachers of my life: Marge Patterson, Winifred Anderson, and Mary Jo Carrabré.

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