Sunday, May 24, 2009

A young friend of mine once had a temp job which paid $7 an hour. While at this job he spotted and solved a systems problem that was costing his employer, a major international bank, millions of dollars. I remember telling him: "People don't solve problems like that for $7 an hour."

Among other musical occupations, I have been teaching children for many years, determined to find a way to teach so that their music is integrated with all of their intellectual and emotional maturation. It is by far the hardest thing I do. Though the problems I address do not have gigantic dollar price tags, they are far more serious in that they involve the deepest experiences of totally alive young people, no two of whom are alike.

Yet giving piano lessons to children is an activity our cultural milieu esteems as comparable to a temp job. Why? Perhaps because many adults associate their own piano lessons with such disappointment, frustration, sometimes even with such pain that they cannot imagine their child having a positive experience.

To be continued.