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Year Three, Day 173: The Wall of Roses

I like saving people.

I think if I had my life to do over, instead of teaching piano, I would have been an EMT.

But, at 55, I think I'd better stick with my profession. Besides, I love teaching piano.  And I actually feel like I do more than just teach my students to play an instrument.  I truly care about them.

Last week, one of my high school students hobbled in for his lesson. I immediately asked if he had injured himself. He told me he had just come from basketball practice, where he had rolled his ankle. He could barely put weight on it.  So instead of sending him in to warm up on his scales, I told him to wait right there. I went in search of ice.  Then I sat him down at the piano and had him take off his shoe and put ice on the painful area.  And I found a small chair to elevate his foot. 

We talked about his injury a bit.  I suggested he get an ankle brace, so as not to reinjure. THEN we did scales.  I asked him how his ankle felt. He said he could actually put weight on it, but he was afraid of reinjury.

And this was the best lesson I had with this young man. Usually he is not too talkative. He is respectful and will follow directions. Sometimes ask questions. But I've often wondered if he is being forced into piano lesson by his parents.

But not this lesson!  We bonded. And after his lesson I accompanied him as he hobbled out to his mom's car. I told her that I used to work for a chiropractor. And that I had a son with many injuries. She thanked me and squeezed my arm.

And then last week, I had another high school student come in. A young lady. One of my best students.  She loves piano and practices regularly. But she had missed her lesson the previous week due to an injury to her hand.  I asked her how she was feeling. She said her hand was better, but that she had been sick all week. We talked a bit and then I had her start on her scales. We got the B flat major scale and she kept stumbling. (It is a tricky fingering!).  She stopped and reached for a tissue. I thought she was going to blow her nose. But she said in a wobbly voice, "I had a really bad day today".

I realized she was crying.

So we stopped scales right there and chatted.  It seems someone at school said very mean things to her.  She didn't give me many details. My heart broke for her. I told her that I had been painfully shy in school. That when the doctor told my parents I needed glasses in the second grade, my father made me get really ugly black plastic frames. 

I told her that sometimes kids say mean things. I shared a story about a boy in fourth grade. I used to like to draw. I was pretty talented. This boy came over to my desk and peered at my drawing. 

"You draw pretty good, for a dog-face", he said. And walked away.

45 years later, I can still remember how that hurt. I told her that years later, I was working in an office. The managers were all male. The females were all "secretaries".  I found it very stressful. But I developed an imagery that worked for me.

A wall of roses. I imagined myself being surrounded by a wall of roses. The flowers were on the inside, facing me with their lovely smell. On the outside, I imagined the thorns. To prick the mean people!

My student laughed at that point.

We got back to her music. She is playing "A River Flows in You", by Yurima.  I have never heard her play so beautifully.

I got goose bumps.

I told her that sometimes our own personal pain can be put into music. And that makes it beautiful. I told her that Beethoven suffered greatly, emotionally and from a hearing loss. Our world we be deprived of his deeply moving music if Prozac had existed back in the day. 

She nodded.

At the end of her lesson, I asked her if she was ok. She said, "Yes. Thank you Teacher Zita". She dabbed away another tear.

I whispered, "Remember the wall of roses", as we parted.  She smiled.

And I can't think of a better way to end this blog.

Other than to wish you a happy Wednesday!

Talk to you tomorrow!



P.S. Here is today's hooping video. I jog-walked 1/4 mile this morning in Vancouver and then did my hoop session! Day 137.

Exercise is my painful pleasure!


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