Thursday, September 23

Apology To My Piano Teacher

Dear Mrs. Johnson,

I am sorry I wasted your time in a colossal way. But I know how much you needed that five bucks from my mom each week, so let’s just agree that I am a generous soul - it is better to give than to receive and all that, see? And really, if I had been more musically inclined, there might have been fewer tears - on your part. We just didn’t have the biology or something.

I honestly didn’t mean to yawn in your face during the many dynamic twists and turns of totally fascinating music theory. I might have quite enjoyed the drills on the treble clef, insanely meaningless major vs minor chord progression and pop quiz tantrums about interpreting key signatures that look just like Egyptian hieroglyphics if I hadn’t been so busy poking my eyes out. And for sure, I know you thought it would be a little healthy competition and super motivating to teach me at the same time as another student for a while. Well, for your information, it wasn’t. He was a BOY. Duh! And he played better than I did. And he smelled.

Did it ever occur to you to offer a little break in the routine once in a while? Like a snappy foot race in front of your house, maybe? I coulda smeared that smelly kid. Besides, a little physical activity always sends additional resources to the brain. Mr. Lavin in 4th grade told us that. I was a really fast runner. Did you know I was the second fastest girl in the 6th grade? Robin Barnes was the only one faster. She was a six foot tall gazelle (that’s a antelope thing in Africa). I could have pulled her pony-tail or something if I wanted to, but I didn’t.

Oh yeah, and I am really sorry I totally froze at the keyboard during that big, fancy recital. You may recall that I launched into the first few measures no sweat. Piece of cake! And then, I dunno. Zip. I’ll bet that was pretty darn uncomfortable for ya, huh. Funny how time kinda stops when there’s an awkward silence during a spectacularly inappropriate time. But to be fair, I did warn you. Remember? But no, you wouldn’t have any of it! “All of my students will shine, dear,” you said. So I was a realist; sue me! I knew I didn’t have a chance of doing the whole piece without flaking out in a truly delicious fashion at the stupid key change bridge. Man, if that wasn’t a Barry Manilow moment at least ten years before anyone ever heard of his boring 70s stuff. C’mon!

I guess I am kinda sorry to disappoint you during “The Spinning Song”. That’s a true classic. I really liked that one. In fact, I think I could have done a lot better if you would have just for once kept your mouth shut and not counted out-loud. Man, that was annoying! Couldn’t you tell it didn’t help at all? “One and two and three and . . .” Sheesh, I was playing by ear anyway, y’know? So it really didn’t make the impression you assumed it did - quarter-note this, half-note that - whatever. All that counting in my ear just sounded like arithmetic. Psycho arithmetic.

And please - don’t get me started on that ridiculous metronome ticking away! I hated that thing. Who thought that was a good idea? Seriously. That was Chinese water torture except with sound.

If James Bond had a Russian spy all tied-up, and he was shining a bright light right in his face, and he’s like, “You will tell me where the plans are, naturally,” y’know, all smooth and suave like he does - and there’s only a few minutes remaining to get the secret information before the bomb blasts off somewhere near the Presidential motorcade and the Russian is like, “You miserable wretch, Bond! I vil not be tellink you nothink!” And then Bond drawls, “Ahhh, comrade, it is most unfortunate that you leave me no other choice.”

And it really should be the enormous goon with the silver teeth who’s gone, gone rogue, y’know what I mean? And he’s like on OUR side now, O.K.? Right! And then the big guy comes into the room and what does he do? Right! He whips out the metronome! Ha ha, that’s when the lame Russian spews everything like a total baby - I mean everything. “No, no! Anythink but da metronome!” - Cool.

Anyways, nice try. Better luck next time.


Yours Truly

p.s. I am including a couple of swell piano jokes I thought you might like. No hard feelings.

Q: What's the difference between a piano and an onion?

A: No one cries when you chop up a piano.

Q: How do you get two piano players to play in perfect unison?

A: Shoot one.

* DISCLAIMER: The author asserts three important facts regarding this post -
1) The events above are all true, however the piano teacher represents a series of frustrated, well-intentioned women.
2) This post in no way shape or form indicates an aversion to music or to the piano in particular. The author was a lazy student, and as such accepts full responsibility for her present handicap when playing the piano. She can play many hymns and primary songs with a proficiency to temporarily beguile the unaware listener. However, this burst of competency expires dramatically at some point during the attempt. This lends applicable weight to the phrase, "deja vu", as in the afore-mentioned public recital disaster.
3) The author ardently desires all people everywhere to embrace the piano and any and all other instruments of choice, and musical exploration in almost any form as a gift and a blessing to the soul. This post was written strictly in the spirit of harmless satire, and is not intended to dis music or discourage study of it.


Cynthia said...

So many memories of sitting through piano lessons came flooding back just now.

Bandanamom said...

Ditto. I have horrible memories of piano lessons. Torture.

caleb said...

I always wanted piano lessons cause there are piano's everywhere! But sadly, my mom decided to stop teaching her children when she got the 6th one, me! But now you make me doubt my desires as a small child.
The only teacher I was ever allowed to get frustrated with was myself. Yes, I slowly taught myself piano but do not display this little ability in public. I just like to mess around every now and then. I like sticking to my other instruments cause they are pretty unique and you only have to read one line of notes at a time instead of two. Unless you are from Hawaii, you don't see very many ukuleles. And there's not very many bass players at Shadow Mountain High School so I have an advantage there.
Though I'll humbly admit I'm not the best at basically anything I do, I do love music. It can change your whole mood in a matter of seconds, measures, chords, or just silence. Listening to music has a big effect on people but I feel that playing music has an even bigger effect.
Have you ever been to an orchestra concert? Yes, the dynamics and key changes can be pretty exciting but it's nothing compared to a rock concert for instance. What's worse than watching an orchestra concert is being in one. So to pass time by I often times find myself dancing while playing in the back of the stage. It's like having something inside you that you just have to let out. I cant listen and play music without expressing myself. I always feel really bad afterward since I feel I've ruined the concert for all my fellow classmates and their parents but instead of getting death threats they just laugh and say, "Thanks for my making my night interesting." I honestly blame my 5th grade orchestra teacher for having the cellos, which I played at the time, spin or instruments at the end of a blue grass song we did at one of our concerts because she remembered how much fun it was at a Christmas concert when she was younger. I'll forever be grateful for her unknown orchestra teacher cause they have changed my life for the better.
Music effects everything it sends it's sound too. It's often said that actions speak louder than words. Music is an action! It's never too late to pick up an instrument so if you haven't yet, you should get started as soon as possible. It could be as simple as tapping on some pots and pans in your kitchen while you're doing the dishes. I can't even imagine my life without music so I don't want others to miss out on that chance either. Again, if you've read this much you're crazy.

calizona said...

Caleb: Allow me to respectfully refer you to the Disclaimer.

You go, young man! Be the musician you are destined to be! Don't look back - don't let me drag your dreams in the dust! You can do it!