It’s funny how our self-perceptions can have nothing to do with reality.
This last year, I let a parent totally demoralize me. They didn’t even say stuff that was true, but still, it got under my skin, real deep. And so in the days and hours leading up to this recital, deep inside and hidden from the students, I sort of felt defeated inside.
In fact, for the first time ever, I cried on the way to the recital. Part of it is that my seniors are leaving, and they’ve been the “leaders” for ten years. My studio will be different now, completely different. So it’s the end of an era.
The other part was the demoralized part. I knew I’d be able to get through the recital because you can always miraculously “pony up” when you have to, but I was a little afraid I wouldn’t be able to work up the energy I needed in order to exude the confidence that some students may need to feed on, you know? LOL!
But the recital was actually awesome. I acted confident and relaxed because I had to for the kids, and I was somewhat surprised, halfway through, to actually be feeling confident and relaxed.
The students rocked. I have one student who asked me, at the beginning of the year, if he’d “really” be able to play his piece “that fast.” Of course I replied without hesitation and complete confidence that “of course he would.” But still, I was pretty shocked and thrilled he actually did.
There’s a point, in learning piano, where your fingers must go faster than your ears can hear each individual note. A lot of students get stuck at the speed they can hear (around 110-130, sixteenth notes), and it’s a struggle to break through that. He got up to 160-170 because he believed me when I told him he could. Phew! And nothing really goes much faster than that, LOL.
Then the little boys acted as if they were on the top of the world with all their grinning. And the older ones were great, too. When I gave one award, he went, “Yes!” Another boy, who I’ve spent all year on relaxing and breathing and feeling confident and having fun when he plays, has been walking around this past month like he knows exactly how good he is, which makes me really happy.
The girls were so lovely. Girls are so different to teach. It’s more like they NEED something from the music. All my girls are like that, like they need emotional support from their music-making, rather than using their music-making to express themselves. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.
Boys have a tendency to believe what you say, while girls have to prove it to themselves. So a lot of the girls don’t automatically practice the way I tell them to, and this leads to problems.
But the girls who’ve been struggling with performing as well as they practice this year, listened to me when I told them how to peak at the recital. And those girls NAILED it. I was so thrilled for them, because they both really wanted that badly.
The kids are playing so musically, it was fun just to sit back and listen to the music. It was all enjoyable, even for me, the teacher! And they’re all so poised and comfortable and seemingly relaxed on stage, it’s amazing.
There were a ton of smiles, so that’s cool.
Personally, I was shocked at how far my students have come this year. We’ve taken our studio to a whole new level. The kids all played music from a place of true, mature understanding of the language.
So I guess, at the end of this year where I’ve felt more demoralized than any other year, I have to say that we learned more this year and came farther this year than any other year before. What’s sort of ironic is that it has been more inconvenient to the parents than any other year, and I don’t know how to reconcile that. Should I really become a worse teacher and give the students less of an education so that my parents (the majority of whom really don’t know the difference and don’t have the foundation to even see the difference or understand the difference) are happier?
Bit of a self-indulgent post today. :-) Sorry about that. I’m just so pleased and proud of them.
So have you ever found reality and your self-perception to be at odds? To be getting leaps and bounds better when you feel worse inside?