The Rewards of Patience
This the story of a little girl who started lessons with me at about age six. Come the pandemic, and I had to stop travelling to teach, but she continued with her lessons elsewhere.
In the beginning she was taught entirely with numbers, and only discovered musical notation much later. Even so, she showed a quick understanding of notation, although like most kids she would get frustrated with it and revert to numbers.
She is the middle child of three daughters, and is the most volatile and humorous of all three. She was by her own admission and her friends (many of whom I taught) "crazy," but I knew that she was simply intoxicated with life, and excited about everything. Luckily she has a very understanding mom, and was never punished for such flights of personality.
A Quick Study
Since she learned quickly and easily, we simply worked around her flights of fancy.
I would categorize her as a "furniture chewer," a child so hyperactive that it was often all I could do to get her to simply sit at the piano for a few moments. But she was bubbly, pleasant and intelligent, and capable of excellent work.
She was actually so funny (even her sisters found her amusing) that we nicknamed her "Miss Froot Loop" after the bunny in the cereal ad. She rarely sat still.
Learning Despite Inattention
She made reasonable progress for about two years. The real inspiration was her older sister, a pianist as well, who wanted to be in recitals and competitions. Not to be outdone, Miss Froot Loop signed up for a recital. Here it is. She was about six.
She missed a few notes, hesitated a bit, but was happy during the whole thing and very proud of herself.
Most teachers would have given up on her, finding her exhausting to teach. But I found her intelligent and hardworking, when she was inclined to do it.
By the time I left, she was progressing more and more and took a serious interest in getting better at piece after piece.
Below is a video from a year ago. Her Mom sent it to me, and it shows much greater command of the instrument. Notice her happy attitude.
Just a few days ago her Mom sent me another video, and she has progressed by leaps and bounds. Her performance below is expressive and musical.
She plays with dynamics (not just banging) and her timing shows her understanding of the musical content.
This is not a child's performance, but the beginnings of a young artist who was allowed to grow at her own pace.
The rewards of patience are that any kid, even Miss Froot Loop, can find their own way through the maze of beginning piano and come out a winner, given enough time and patience.