Everyday after teaching school, I drive to clients’ homes and teach their children how to play the piano. It started out as a way to make extra money, but since I love music and kids, I get a double bonus: I get paid to sit beside remarkable children and teach them how to play music on the piano.
Without question, the liveliest, most charming, and cleverest of all the piano students I have ever taught is Melissa. I pull up to her house and she greets me by running out to the street to give me a hug. I sure look forward to that hug an awful lot. Then she starts making excuses for not practicing, and I have learned that she isn’t ever going to practice very much. Melissa will not become a great pianist and that’s fine with me, for nothing I will do could ever improve on her.
Then we start the lesson, and that’s when she starts saying the darndest things.
Melissa said, “This is a menacing song.” I told her, “Melissa, you have used the word ‘menacing’ a lot today.” She replied, “Yes. It is my 'b u z z w o r d' of the day.” During the very next lesson, she leaned over to me with a devious look on her face and whispered, “Do you want to know what my 'buzzword' of the day is?” I cautiously said, “Yes.” She lowered her voice and whispered, “Conniving.”
I asked Melissa to play a song. She said she wasn’t sure if she could. I told her, “Just try.” She said, “I’ll try to play this song, but it could turn out ugly.”
Melissa knows I have a horrific sweet tooth and am crazy about candy, so she politely asked me if I wanted some candy. I answered, “No thank you.” She immediately got a terrified look on her face and yelled, “MY GOD!!! WHO ARE YOU????!”
I asked Melissa if she had been practicing. Right at that moment she went on a long coughing spell and didn’t quit for some time. As soon as she stopped I was about to ask her if she was alright, but before I could say anything, she said, “I wasn’t making excuses for not practicing. I was coughing my brains out.”
On a different occasion Melissa had another cold. During the lesson I told her, “You should be concentrating on the melody in the right hand.” She said, “I couldn’t. The whole time I was playing I was thinking about the drizzle coming out of my nose.”
I told Melissa to play Swan Lake. She mumbled, “Of all the songs you could have asked to play, why THAT one?” I replied, “Isn’t it funny how teachers are psychic?” She mumbled, “Yeah. Or psy……cho.”
I told Melissa I had to write some assignments in her music book. She told me, “While you do that, I’ll talk, which is what I am meant to do.”