I had to be a music teacher. How can I know? My mother told me. She had friends who were teachers of instrumental music and she thought that getting into that field would be a great idea. Also, from a very young age, I loved music and every time we attended a musical theater production, I could memorize a good part of the songs and I could sing them the same way I had them. heard playing.
Flashback to age seven: After attending a weekend production of “Guys and Dolls” at a nearby community college, I used school recess to try and teach some of my classmates. classy chorus-style “A Bushel and a Peck” (with Miss Adelaide accent), as well as “If I Were a Bell” (sung drunk like the soul-saving Sarah Brown). Later, I taught my friends the male vocal parts.
It seemed perfectly normal to me – and as normal as discovering in kindergarten that I loved the score for “The Nutcracker” and that I was almost exhausting my parents’ Nutcracker LP by playing it over and over.
Further contributing to my musical delinquency was that my best friend’s mother was an elementary music teacher in a nearby school district. I remember her enthusiasm for music in all its forms and being fascinated to see and play the wide variety of instruments in her class that her students used to make music to accompany their singing.
Oh, the singing. During sleepovers, my friend’s mom would teach us the latest songs she was working on with her students. She also took us to see their annual musical productions. Very motivating! My friend’s mother taught us international folk dances which she learned at music teacher workshops. So we imagined ourselves at the forefront of technology when it came to cutting the rug with globally diverse dance moves.
Piano lessons started for me when I was 10, along with learning more diverse and challenging, unassigned songs, learned in parallel, triggered by my friend’s mother who bought me a book of difficult music by Tchaikovsky “The Nutcracker Suite” (which I still play). I was in grades four through five in the Panpipers Choir, played trombone from sixth through college, and sang and accompanied the high school choir on the piano.
Everything was very special musically until it wasn’t. Although I gave piano lessons to several young people when I was in high school and university, where I only had a minor in music. Can you repeat that please?! My mother was livid. Apparently, she had already mentally bought pre-sale tickets for the marching band shows she was sure I was going to perform because she loved them so much.
“You are wasting your life,” she told me. And to avoid being complicit in my supposed recklessness, she boycotted my college days when I graduated with honors with a major in human resources development with a specialization in program development. Never mind the many beneficial educational and enrichment programs, trainings, support groups, classes, activities, academies, and respite options that I enthusiastically developed afterwards; she remained convinced of the error of my ways because they were not her choices and could not be stamped on.
My dad was more accepting of my left turn, quietly commenting, “It’s not like you’re giving up the music completely. Which, of course, I didn’t. My piano playing always gives me comfort and joy that I share with others. But in my heart, I always felt that a career based on teaching music would have ruined music for me.
Non-musicians may not realize it, but there are intolerable musical abominations that can detract from the appeal of music. Let me name a few: people who produce rote versions of “Heart and Soul” or “Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater” on your piano; chorus songs with notes a musical third higher than any singer’s range; music students with pushy parents who have unrealistic expectations; awkward pages turn in the middle of intense musical phrases; being asked to play “The Entertainer” a million times; poorly tuned pianos; and badly detuned singers who behave like vocal virtuosos.
Mom, these are some of my least favorite things that reinforce my avoidance of a career in music. Trust me. I made the right decision for me.
Kristy Smith’s comedy chronicles Different Drum are archived on her blog: diffdrum.wordpress.com