the good teacher

Sometimes when cooking rice I heat the pot first without any water in it, I like how the first drips of water I eventually add instantly become steam. I use to fail at making tofu steaks, they would stick to the pan and tear then learned to leave it until water inside them evaporated, then they perfectly flip. Too many additives in the non-dairy milk substitutes so I make my own out of oats. Just oats, water, blender, sieve POW –  50 cents a litre.  Too bad in grade 10 they didn’t get us to cook food in chemistry class. It would have been so much more understandable not to mention tasty. A couple piano teachers tried to teach me when I was a kid, I don’t know what the hell they wanted from me. I could play whatever I heard on the radio, wished I could develop it further but they were all about a vertical representation of dots and stems and everything else was wrong. In teaching anyone the good teacher tries to appreciate what they want to play, what they like and sort out how to bridge that for the student. It’s crucial the person be engaged and their experience be honoured.

 

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  1. There is no deficit of bad piano teachers. Most have an axe to grind and are always looking for dreams to chop down…I remember one in my twenties who always smelt like vodka, who had “no way to hold his head that didin’t hurt…” I was supposed to play a Chopin prelude for a recital. I did the prelude and then decided to tag on an improv after. Didin’t think a piano teacher could yell that loud. I also have fond memories of asking my childhood teacher why I was never allowed to play Kiwanis, to be earnestly told “you don’t have what it takes to play live.” Years later, after having achieved a certain level of success and notoriety, a friend of mine who was a fellow student of this teacher, ran into her in a supermarket. She commented to my friend that “she always knew I’d be successful.”

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