Of the countless, daily humiliations that come with being a professional musician...

Of the countless, daily humiliations that come with being a professional musician, perhaps none inspire more self reflection than trying to teach piano to a room of disinterested kindergarteners.  I’m not exactly known for my sunny disposition.  Raffi, I am not.  Miss Rachel, I am not.  Actually, I always viewed myself as more of a Gordon Lightfoot type.  But since my genius continues to go unrecognized, I find myself here, scraping by on whatever gig I can get, trying desperately to show at least one student to correctly play the melody of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

The kids are joyfully frolicking and playing, whispering in each other’s ears, filled with boundless enthusiasm for seemingly everything on earth except the piano.  I can’t hold their attention.  Surrounded by youth, naivety, and innocence, I ponder the life decisions I’ve made that have led me to this point.  I wonder if these kids are old enough to detect a hangover yet.  Is it too late for me to start a career in the finance sector?

I’m lulled out of my daydreams by a student yelling “Mr. Jerry, come listen!”

She then plays a note-for-note perfect rendition of Twinkle Twinkle.  She beams with pride, attracting the attention of her friends.  Almost instantly, she begins teaching them the melody.  As her fellow students eagerly follow her instructions, I quietly observe, while wondering exactly what it is I am being paid for.  A second student has now mastered the melody.  He demands silence from the room, then plays it nearly perfectly.  In that moment, the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein himself couldn’t have made a more beautiful sound to my ears.

After class, the mother of the first student approaches me, eager to hear about her daughter’s progress on the piano.

“She’s great,” I reply, allowing my cynicism a moment’s respite.  “She might even be a professional musician one day.”



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