Monday, December 03, 2007

Maya's Recital

Maya started piano lessons in August. She's been very happy, and practiced willingly, and this month it was time for her first recital. Her teacher played some songs for her to choose from, and Sunday she played her choice, The Bunny with no Name. A cute little song, and despite her obvious stage fright she played in a very interpretive way, with lots of little hopping effects. We were so proud of her.

Then the recital progressed, and towards the end of the hour the advanced students got to play. Beethoven, mostly. I am still reeling from that overpowering blast of musical talent and ability. Apparently this teacher has several, and I mean ten or more, students playing at the level of concert pianists. Including many who look to be younger than ten.

Before Maya's first lesson with this teacher, I had a few qualms because a) she sounded somewhat strict and b) I thought she might be kind of crazy. What sounded strict? Well, she is apparently completely adamant about practicing. If students don't practice enough, they get a warning. If they don't improve, that's it. She won't teach them any more. Although the fact that she can be this uncompromising also shows how much in demand she is. And this in spite of the fact that her students are not allowed to refer her to other people without her permission. I heard of one mother who wouldn't even tell other people her name. Why crazy? I heard that she teaches until 9 at night, and then, after she's finished teaching, her sons practice from 9 to 11. Her young, school-age sons. Who go to school the next morning. One of whom performed at Carnegie Hall this summer.

In person, however, she is completely wonderful. Very nice, and always so positive. She has had nothing but praise for Maya. And even though Maya has to write down how long she practices each day, and does not always practice the half hour she is supposed to, she practices enough to learn her assigned songs and maybe a few extra. So no problem. After the recital she gave all her students, even the big ones, little teddy bears. She seems to embody a love of music, and a commitment to it, that is completely warm-hearted and generous.

This is why, even though his commitment to practice is perhaps not so consistent, Ziad will be starting lessons this week. Damn, we're musical.


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