Inspirations and Aspirations

It was the day that is the highlight of every piano teacher's year. The Spring Recital. In this case, a combination of nervousness and excitement affected both student and teacher alike. Despite having stood before audiences ranging from a few intimate friends to a few thousand, butterflies were still in my stomach. I whispered to Joel right before it started that I was more nervous about having to stand in front of all these parents and their friends and say something than I was about playing the 3-minute Haydn sonata at the end., public speaking is something I would love to be better at, but my dislike of being in the center of attention kind of sabotages any degree of comfort I may otherwise feel. 

Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories include lessons, recitals, and practice times, and I can distinctly remember working in some of the very same lesson books I now teach my very young students out of. Lessons for me started at the age of 5, and I was extremely blessed to have a teacher that had a passion for making music FUN for young children. Wow! She still inspires me today, especially during those lessons when I'm tempted to crack down into the "business, let's-get-it-done" mode with my littles. 

She was the one that coached me through hours of practicing scales, arpeggios, and chord sequences that long summer when I took lessons to prepare for an orchestra audition. "Knight Ruppert" still brings up memories of sitting before that orchestra conductor, hoping beyond hope that I would be accepted. As I comfortably played through every scale he requested, he commented that he was confident I could do whatever he asked. My mind immediately flew with gratefulness for the effort my teacher had put in to make sure I knew those techniques flawlessly before I ever stepped foot into that audition room. 

That late summer grass crunched under my bare feet several weeks later, as I once again dashed to the mailbox hoping that the results of my audition would be there. That day it was, and I didn't even wait to get back to the house before tearing that letter open. Screams of delight followed as I flew back across that grass to show my family that coveted acceptance letter. My heart didn't stop pounding and racing for weeks!

The next three years playing in that orchestra proved to be the greatest period of growth for me musically. That beloved teacher passed me on to another, as she realized she had come to the end of what she could give me. My half-hour practice sessions turned into a daily 3-5 hours, and I soaked up the new relationship that was budding with the teacher I was driving 45 minutes to weekly. She was equally inspiring to me as my first teacher. I was beyond the "needing-fun" stage, and she gave me the quality of teaching from her vast experience that my drive and ambition was needing. Her ever present patience with my desire to play everything too fast is remarkable still to me today. Her friendship, and emphasis on playing for the Lord is still something I treasure and strive to pass onto my students. 

Now, in the blink of an eye, I find myself in the teacher role. Sitting in the audience at the recital, watching my students play, with my mouth as dry as I'm sure there's must have been. Knowing they are going to pull it off, but feeling with them in the process. Basking in their satisfaction as their hard work well pays off. 

I loved being a piano student, but I've decided that I think I love being a teacher more. As I've reflected recently on my two piano teachers, I am equally inspired by both to give both quality, fun, and my 100% effort to my students. I want to help them fall in love with the gift of music as much as I was encouraged to do. I want them to not only strive for quality for the sheer joy of it, but also to know that Christ delights in their effort as the Author of music.

Starting all eight of these young people from square one has been such a delightful challenge, and I love watching them grow by leaps and bounds! I love my students, and I look forward to many more years, Lord willing, of being involved in their lives.


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  2. Hmmm... maybe i should still start with lessons... :)Would love to! Someday?? :)


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