The Piano Kid
The Piano Kid was short, maybe three feet tall, and he loved candy. He could play any piano song he set his mind to. He devoured piano music. It was nothing to him. Piano pieces that other kids his age (8) were fretting over were putty in his hands.
Then disaster struck. His Dad got involved. Dad was an Manhattan arbitrage lawyer, a very unpleasant man who was used to getting what he wanted. And Dad decided that his son should be able to read piano music at a high level, even though the kid was only ten and had great difficulty with reading music.
An Unbearable Boor For A Father
"I set my standards very high," he coldly informed me in his $10,000 suit. He had no musical skill or experience of any kind. although he loved classic rock hits. Dad was a tiger parent. He hovered over the lessons, offering helpful threats like, "Sit up straight or no dessert for you."
Or his classic growl, "Pay attention!" When he entered the room, his sons cowered. He lurked in the room next to the lessons, judging every move we made.
Dad Hated Numbers
Finally Dad had enough of my "soft piano" approach. "I'm sending him to the Conservatory," he said bluntly. I won't say which one. The boy's afternoons of finding and playing songs came to an end.
I still taught many other kids in the neighborhood, and would see him in his yard playing ball sometimes. Finally two years later, we crossed paths on the way to my car, so I asked, "Still playing piano?" He hung his head. "No, I quit. They made it so boring."
I asked, "Don't you want to just play a song once in a while?" He shuffled. "I don't want to play any more." He shuffled back to the house of doom.