Scary teacher

I am back in the Workland, been back for about a week, and have been busy doing various stuff.

The first thing i should update is about my needless worrying before arriving home. (Sidetrack: Home, i realized this past Christmas is no longer the Homeland but Workland. This is my 7th year in this country, and i have grown to embrace it. Regardless of where my roots are, my current social network is based in the Workland, and now my professional network is set to develop in this country too. I guess it is better to admit that upfront than to pretend that i am a Homelander when in actual fact, i have no idea what is going on in the Homeland. It also makes me feel less pretentious so that is a relief.)

Before i left the Workland for my trip in a rush, i left a bar of chocolate on the kitchen counter. It was a bar of opened chocolate, for all ants and cockroaches to feast on. Not to mention we are heading right smack into summer. Also i made the decision to leave Lance at home. There were a lot of factors involved, basically everyone from friends to mother to vet all vetoed the idea of me leaving the bird at a boarding kennel – no one knows if the bird can survive the car trip (because it is the same place where i board my dog – a five away drive away) or the board because after all it was an injured bird with a neurological deficit. The vet suggested i put it down if i were to go on a holiday. I was adamant that i not euthanize a perfectly healthy bird, albeit one that cannot fly.

Anyhow, all’s good when i came home. I was actually peering through the blinds of my house from outside to see if the bird was still alive after 4 weeks. It was, and in fact it was chirping merrily. I could hear it from outside. It however, was not very pleased to see me. Ungrateful little twat. After having the house to itself for four whole weeks, it was no longer used to sharing its space with another human. What the hell. It only made a mess on the floor with all the seed kernels, which i easily swept. The chocolate was miraculously untouched. Weird.

Anyway, i was busy getting the cleaners to come in to give the house a spring clean, then it was off to purchase a new vacuum cleaner. We have survived without a vacuum for the past year, pretty amazing huh?

I also started resuming all my language lessons – i think my Japanese teacher was a little appalled that my Japanese did not improve drastically after my Japan trip (not surprising considering how little i attempted to speak!). But she was shocked with my new confidence – i was now stringing phrases into long sentences in more or less the correct grammatical way. Previously, i stuck to short sentences.

I guess the most exciting news would be my first piano lesson. I had researched the teachers i intend to contact before i left for Japan. I contacted one of them who teaches in a pretty good music school (in my opinion). It is also the same school i have been keeping an eye out for since i learnt of its existence in my first year of Medical School. It has been a long time, but better late than never!

For some strange reason, i discovered that i had an expectation of what she should look like after hearing her speak over the phone. I only realized i had an expectation of her appearance when i got a shock after meeting her the first time. I found that odd because i do not usually harbour an expectation of what a person should look like before meeting them. And the reason i got a shock was because she was the exact opposite of what i had been expecting. Sometimes, i can really be moronic.

(On hindsight i realized she sounded like an Anatomy lecturer i had back in my second year of medical school. It also did not help that they have the same first name…) Anyway, this piano teacher turned out to be a well-groomed lady in her fifties. I rocked up to her place and was immediately instructed to sit at the piano and that made me really really nervous. I just thought that we were going a little too fast for my liking.

She was also as strict as she sounded on the phone. Basically her conditions for  me to be one of her students was that i MUST undertake weekly lessons, otherwise she feels it will be too difficult for me to master the piano. Also within the first lesson, she whizzed through six pieces and stated that i must practice them as assignment, before the next lesson. I just stared at her, feeling incredibly scared. You know, it has been a long time since a teacher last struck fear in me and that was way back in high school. And yet at 25 years of age, i am now experiencing the same stressful feeling. I am incredulous. What in the world??

Of course the lesson was not all bad. I like the fact that she took the first 10 minutes of the lesson explaining the theory. It was very structured, compared to my flute lessons, where my flute teacher (he is a superb flute teacher, don’t get me wrong) drops pieces of theory here and there which i can’t seem to grasp because it is all over the place. This teacher on the other hand, went through the theory in a very organized manner, and what’s more, there was no fluffing around. She zoomed through the theory at a pace that i like – fast enough to keep me on my toes without feeling bored and thus drifting off.

I also think perhaps i need a little strict guidance in my life, i am actually curious to note my response to a stern mentor. So i am going to give her a try for the next 2 months at least. Hopefully it works out well. Also according to my friends who used to learn the piano, piano teachers are apparently infamous for being strict and making students cry. Wow.


2 responses »

  1. You know… I’m in the same boat. Resolved to finally learn the piano, registered randomly for a class (thinking or maybe *not* thinking piano teachers were any different than normal folk) and started class. Surprised that I got this young lady teacher. In my head the teacher was a whole lot older. The first lesson was ok but somewhat tense (I was anyway, dunno about my teacher though). The next few lessons she made me feel stressed whenever I made a mistake. She’d go all quiet and wait menacingly behind me and shout if I got it wrong and I started feeling like I was 10 yrs old and very dumb/slow. Am a grown woman for godssakes! By the fourth lesson, she even expected me to be able to read notes and I’m a COMPLETE beginner! We don’t even warm up when we start. It’s like she’d point to a room we’d use and told me to start on last week’s piece. (so much for pleasantries!) It never felt like I could have fun with the piano and I’m quite concerned by the time I get through the alfred’s book, I’d get really turned off it altogether. Every time I finish a class, it’s like I can’t wait to get out and breathe a sigh of relief. No doubt she’s taught me a lot and no doubt her ear is amazing but come on…be a bit more human. Right now we’re on hiatus because of chinese new year but i start lessons again next week and I really don’t know what to do. Heard that other places were the same (except I didn’t really check). Told the story to my colleagues at work and they were quite amused. But seriously, I wanted to have fun learning the piano and it’s not as if I’m taking an exam or anything.


    Am still debating whether I should change teachers. I mean, I think I’d be able to endure for a while but do I really want to? I’ve got work commitments too. My teacher makes me feel guilty all the time.

    Sigh. Found your blog while browsing for ideas. Wondered how you’re getting on with the piano.

    • Hallo Blue, it was almost a month ago since you posted this comment; i hope your piano lessons have been a little better at the very least.

      I reckon if you are really not enjoying your lessons, then you should find a new teacher. No harm in finding a new tutor, but loads of damage done if this teacher is scaring the bejesus out of you!

      My teacher is strict but reasonable though i feel stressed trying to keep up with the practice assignments she allocates for me. However i am upfront with her about the limitations of my time, and i have declared that i can only try my best. So much so just last week, i called her before my lesson just to give her the heads up that i did zero practice during the week due to work commitments. I was willing to forgo the lesson (which i had paid in advance just so i do not piss her off by wasting her time). Though i did think that if this continued too often, i will have to change the teacher because it will cost me too much – paying for lessons and then forfeiting them. However, i am glad to say she was very reasonable and told me to attend the lesson so that i have at least half an hour of practice time during that week.

      That has been my experience so far; i hope that helps! Bottomline for me – if the teacher is scaring me away from what i want to achieve, then our teaching/learning styles are incompatible, and it is best to part ways amicably.

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