Wednesday, September 30, 2009

As a piano teacher dedicated to the proposition that music is at once universal and highly individual I am increasingly interested in the students that are considered unteachable and therefore rejected by music departments and institutions.

Some of these students are characterized as having learning disorders. I wonder to what degree that characterization reflects the inability or unwillingness of the adults in charge to connect to the individual in terms that are mutually understood.

This is my goal as a teacher. I achieve it via cultivation of the musical ear. The ear is the basis of everything, including reading music.

In today's New York Times the following sentences leaped out at me in a review of "The Middle," a TV sit-com about family life. Writing about the youngest child, Brick: "His teacher describes him as 'clinically quirky' and wants him tested. 'I just hope that he's weird enough that our insurance covers it,' [his father] says."

Why not give such a child some good highly individualized piano lessons? Does this pinpoint yet another way in which the high cost of medical insurance is affecting our culture?