Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver 
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Jane Kenyon, Constance (1993)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This Is Why…

My darling student Lily, age 9, recently presented her Suzuki Book 1 recital. This means that she learned, polished and memorized all 18 pieces in that level and then performed them on a private recital. It took place at my house, with her parents, sister, grandparents and 2 friends in attendance.

This is always one of my favorite work-related events.  The student is excited, the parents are proud and generally some lovely music-making is heard.  By this point the young pianist has learned quite a lot and is able to play with dynamics, rubato and the like.  It is the jumping off point for the real piano repertoire of Bach, Beethoven and Schumann.

This recital was a little different, though, because since Christmas Lily’s mother has had 3 surgeries for cancer.  She is a beautiful, vibrant woman fighting for her life. Throughout this ordeal Lily has continued her lessons and diligent practicing and I have had the honor and responsibility of providing some stability and normalcy to what surely must be a petrified little girl.  Even at her young age she has internalized the music and made it a means of expression, which she desperately needs right now.

So at her recital we all sat in my living room and listened in wonder as Lily laid out her highest hopes and deepest fears.  And yes, this is why I teach piano.