Monday, March 30, 2009

Sorry, The Boomtown Rats, I DO Like Mondays.

I know I brag about my job pretty often. But dudes, it's true. My job is the shit.

A few months ago, I was on the phone with a dear, dear friend of mine, and he mentioned that he could never be a piano teacher. Later, he said that he understood more how people do it after we'd talked about it, which was nice. I could have tried to convince him otherwise though. I guess I could have gone on for awhile about the beauty in hearing kids play music, the joy of experiencing kids hear themselves play for the first time, the beauty behind teaching, the passion I have for music, the fact that "sometimes they teach me" (bored)...but whatever. That's maybe 10% of why I do it. Here are some of the real reasons why:

A few weeks ago, a six year old touched my front tooth. She was showing me which one was her loose tooth. I pointed to my own (coincidentally, my fake tooth) and she was like "No, no, you've got it all wrong. It's this one." And she touched her pointer finger to my front tooth. She kept it there for about 3 seconds while I wondered what the hell to do. I then laughed very hard. Once on my second date with an ex-boyfriend, the same had thing happened. At the time, I thought maybe he was just socially awkward. Now I know he had the mentality of a six year old.

A different six year old stared at me a lot during his lesson. I'd be talking, and he'd just look at me, sort of concerned. Eventually he said to me "you look new." I was sort of confused. "Is there something different today? Is that what you mean?" I asked him. "No, you just look new." he replied, and carried on with his music.

Last week an eight year old who acts about six told me the entire plot of the movie The Wild Thornberries. There's a point at which, when a kid is talking and won't stop, you just have to say fuck it and let them go on. That movie doesn't even really sound all that good, but she laughed about it for twelve minutes or so. I have no idea what the movie is about.

And then there was today: Monday. I love Mondays.

Let me break down my day for you:

1:45 - 2:15 K, 11 years old, talks about what it would be like to play piano with his eyelashes. Here's what it sounded like. "Only they'd have to be metal. Or, you could put them in ponytails. Why don't they call them horsie tails? But I guess the tails don't come out of people's bottoms. I don't know."

2:15 - 2:45 M, 7 years old, plays a piece with the pedal down. She turns to me and says, very sincerely, "I love this. I love doing this."

2:45 - 3:15 J, 11 years old, sight-reads The Addams Family theme song. I get teary-eyed for some reason.

3:15 - 4:45 The family I babysat for comes in (three kids). R, 10 years old, and I talk about sandwiches, of course. I tell her that I like Jimmy Johns a lot. She says "Oh, me and B (her brother, 7) play a game called Jimmy Johns. I'm Aunt Pearl, and my sister and two baby cousins are the three babies. We put them in giant diapers made out of clothes. B's name is Jimmy John in the game."

Later, she tells me that her little sister now wants to be a racecar driver when she grows up. This is a change from her last career goal of working at the Home Depot. She likes the way it smells...

5:30 - 6:15 and 6:15 - 7:00. M and E, both 14 years old, each have 45 minute lessons, During each, we watch videos of the pianist Glenn Gould, who's a crazy person. Check it:

During the overlap between their lessons, they giggled together and talked about how they were going to tell their friends at school tomorrow. This is what's cool to talk about at Middle School. Classical piano videos on youtube.

7:00 - 7:30 M, 8 years old, and I talk about holidays. She tells me that she made up a holiday called Condenvusion. I ask her about it, and she makes up a song. Here are the lyrics:

Condenvusion, Condenvusion
It's a holidaaaaaaaaay
Egg toss! Egg toss!
Pizza, cake, lalalalala
Do you get it now? Do you get it?

7:30 - 8:15 T, the mother of S (14) tells me that when S comes to her lessons, it's like a pilgrimage in that the arrival of the lesson is like the end of a pilgrimage. I take this as a compliment.

I love my job. I mean, can you blame me??


syb said...

I would have played piano a lot more than 5 years if I had had you as a teacher, Reem. You beat the pants off the mean old nun and the lady with weird hands who only let me play classical. You'd go head-to-head with the cool guy who came to our house and taught chord theory, and probably win because you're cuter and laugh more :)
What a beautiful thing to love what you do!

jx said...

how did i miss this post yesterday?!

reem, i didn't want this posting to end. so odd, absurd, hilarious, beautiful....on and on.

you should really compile these things in a book. and sell it.

can you imagine being the kid all grown up someday having some sort of record of the crazy stuff they once said? i bet you had a few doozies in your day, reem.

Susannah said...

I sent these to my mom, who (as I may have mentioned) is also a piano teacher. I wish I could remember more of her own stories, but she sent back this one:
"One of my students (11-year-old boy) had been playing lots of classical music, so I thought I change it up a little and offer a new Kabalevsky piece, so I said, 'And now for something completely different--' and the kid said, 'A man with three buttocks?'"

SophisticatedBrew said...

Em, I would LOVE to celebrate Convulsion or whatever it's called. That's a kickass song.