Saturday, December 6, 2008

and you think you know better.

Julia had been my piano student for over 2 years now. She just turned 6 when I first met her back in November 2006. In the beginning, I was hesitant to take her in. She could barely read the alphabet, let alone notes!

But I saw talent. The kid has a good ear. Although she can't read notes, she can play short, simple passages that I showed her during our first meeting, without the aid of a music book. So I took her in.

Julia's parents are a young couple. Her mom was about 26 at that time. Her dad was about 28 or 29 years old. They are not very sophisticated people, but they have horses and Julia even at a very tender age then, could already mount and ride her pony like a real equestrian. I was extremely impressed. But none of them had serious music training.

Julia turned 9 last week. And boy, how she had grown. I watched her while she played. She doesn´t like Mozart because she finds the pieces too common. Kabalevsky and Shostakovitch do not appeal to her because their language is too alien for her, she said. (She reminded me actually of myself when I first played Bartok. I wanted to rip off the page! HAHAHA) And Bach, she thinks, is too technical. Just the same, I gave her Bach.

But when she came last Thursday, I was rather annoyed of her attitude. She didn´t want to play her Etudes. See, this is the problem when you have a gifted student. They tend to grow easily bored, and they think they can play everything.

So I asked her what she wanted to play. She said, Fur Elise. I stared at her in disbelief. Of course she can´t play Fur Elise! Her fingers are too stiff for the running passages in the third section of the piece, and she is simply not ready for it. She doesn´t have the discipline. And she is too lazy to bother to study her lessons.

But I can give her Fur Elise for her recital piece in Spring. No question about that. She can play it in no time. No doubt about that either. I know, she can do it. But I want her to want it so badly. I want her to value the discipline that goes with the musical training.

After she left, I stopped for a moment. It made me think of those people who tried to stop me in the past, because they thought they knew better. Those people who thought they can teach me a lesson by making me want it so badly. And of course, I did exactly the opposite thing to spite them. In the end, we were both losers.

But think about it, how often do we play god? Deciding the fate of someone. Pretending we have all the answers. Truly, why do we think we know better? Is it because of experience, or is it because we are too proud to admit to ourselves that some people .... make that, some kids are just too darn good.


rwidiani said...

a 9 yo girl playing fur elise? i'm bloody impressed!!! she must be very talented!
i agree with your last sentences. it's human nature, probably? want to know better than the others?


Droomvla said...

She is talented but not THAT talented. I'm having problems with her though because she has too much self confidence and doesn't practice her exercises very often. adu.....! hahahaha

Do you think it's human nature? To want to know more than others? I'm not so sure. hahahahaha