Wednesday, June 25, 2008


This picture pretty much sums up what my body looks like inside right now. I'm in knots.

I live a very simple, low stress life. Until the last week of June rolls around. This coming Saturday, it's piano recital time. *cringe*

It's funny. Parents tell me all the time what they go through as they sit on the edge of their seat, watching their little ones perform. They tell me how anxious they get, worried that their child is going to miss that one note, or worse, break down completely. They watch their little fingers tremble and they almost feel their child's nervousness as though it were their own. They feel this way for the short duration of the performance, and once the piece is over, they melt back into their seat and enjoy the rest of the recital, feeling elated, proud, and RELIEVED.

I wish I had it that good.
I feel this way throughout the entire recital! I feel like an anxious parent to each and every one of these kids. I know where all of their little vulnerable spots are in their pieces. I know how hard they have worked to prepare for this day. I know how terrified they are, and how brave they are to get up there and play despite their fears. And when each one of them plays, and does well, I feel as though my heart could burst open, I am so proud of them.

I love some of these kids almost as though they were my own. I have watched many of them grow up and become gifted musicians. Some of them were 4 or 5 when they started, and are now well into their teen years. And with every passing year, I watch them come into their own.

Taylor stands out the most. He was 5 when he started. When he got up to perform for the first time, he was so small that the grand piano he was playing on looked as though it was going to swallow him whole. The odds were stacked against him. The bench was too far away from the piano, and the music had to be placed higher up than on his piano at home. So here he is, sitting on the very edge of the bench, his feet about two feet off the floor, and he's reaching as far as he can to see his music. I thought he was going to fall off the bench. He looked so small and vulnerable up there as he played.

The next year, he was a little bigger, but his music fell off the piano mid-way through his performance. He carried on as though nothing happened. Now, he is 13, going on 19. He has a quiet nature about him, but he is so confident. In all these years with him, I have never heard him say he was nervous or afraid. He just takes things in stride with an inner calmness, and a smile that would melt your heart.

I feel so fortunate to have these long lasting connections. All 51 of them... and not one bad apple in the group. Ok, there is one little firecracker, but she is just as tender underneath it all as the rest of them. *wink*
So, even though my stress levels are skyrocketing this week, I am also feeling grateful. And proud. And privileged that I get to play a small part in the becoming of these beautiful souls. They have added so much richness to my life.

It makes all of this anxiety so very worth it in the whole scheme of things.


  1. the way you talk about it, about them, i just know that you are an absolute joyously wonderful piano teacher, one of the best i am thinking and i know a lot of them :)

    what a lovely person you are my dear, xo

  2. How lucky these sweet, innocent souls are to have you as their teacher.

    You shine (and they will too!).

    Have a wonderful recital.

  3. I hope that you make space for all that anxiety and wonder in your experience. Sounds like you already are!

  4. gosh, taylor is a champion!
    but i'm sure each of these kids is special as is their teacher :)

  5. Good luck with the recital. If you're this anxious..just imagine how the kids feel? No matter what - they're parents will be proud!
    Beautiful 'knotted' image.

  6. I agree with other comments here, they're are so very blessed to have such a wonderful teacher who cares so deeply about them :-)

  7. And u should feel proud and privileged...I always wanted to learn the piano....wish I had met someone like you when I was younger....

  8. I was at first KNOCKED OUT by this gorgeous perfect, perfect photo - did I mention I LOVE it? - and then I read your post & it fits so perfectly. How lucky these kids are to have you for a teacher & how lucky for you to be able to see them grow. To be responsible for helping them grow. A little sunshine here,a little rain (rhayne?) there & they just begin to take off on their on. This is beautiful.

  9. Yes, very nice visual! I grew up in a family of musicians; took piano and learned a little bit of guitar and a lot of ukelele.I don't have the musical talent my siblings have, but I understand the knots part of which you speak. As a parent (oh how I wish my son didn't quit!) and even as a teacher even though I've never been in your shoes.

  10. Can feel all the warmth and affection you have for them,and all the warmth and love they have for surely must be one hell (heaven) of a teacher that they stick to the piano and you!!

    So nice to feel your contentment and satisfactions!!


  11. Celebrate it out !!!
    A Wonderful weekend awaits you!!

  12. With you as a teacher how could they be anything but wonderful players...:)

    I understand your anxiousness...but it's going to be great...I just know it.

    Have fun!


  13. Sharing your worry with us is just as much a gift as all the hours sitting beside your students. It is impossible for a good teacher not to care so much. They are lucky.

    I took piano lessons as a youngster and quit when it came to recital time. I couldn't take the pressure. Ironically, I took up guitar a little later, and against all odds, ended up performing regularly. Only years later have I come back to the piano with joy.
    It would be cool if you could post some of your own playing on here (I'm trying to do it on mine for fun)

  14. Fifty-one piano students?!? HOLY COW!!! That is amazing.

    I loved this post because your love for your students and your joy in music is so evident. It reminded me of my good friend who is Sloane's piano teacher.

    She is a full time teacher and a mother of two and somehow she finds the time to teach 13 piano lessons a week. Once someone asked her why she taught piano when it took so much of her time and wasn't financially necessary. She said, "Oh, I love it. Those hours with my kids are my time. I get more out of teaching them than I ever would from time at home by myself." Sounds like you.

  15. a flower for every feeling... or better yet a photo of a flower for every feeling. this one is down right painful to look at when i think of it as being your insides! when is this recital going to take place??! you really are a delightful person. i think about all the talents you posses and the humanity that you have in your heart and i just want to shake your hand, or hug you or kiss your cheek :)! i am soo glad i am your friend! just like said to debi in her post.. i wish these dang blogs came complete with microphones and sound. i would like to hear you whisper to those children, encourage them and praise them. please let us know how they all do! what descriptions you have gifted us with. too tiny to see the keys??

  16. Ha ha. I think what you experience as a music teacher at a recital is so true (more evidence that you are a perfectionist). I was recently involved in helping run a musical. The grade two students were my responsibility. I had a similiar amount of nervousness about each one's part. And I had two classes of grade 2s. Generally I find subbing to be easy, but now I understand why I found the musical so stressful. I was that nervous for each of the kids. It is all becoming clear to me now.

    Thanks for the insight.


  17. Beautiful, beautiful jaime...

    it will take me quite awhile to catch up and to return to 'the fold' but from what I see and just read here, your heart is probably even more tender and glorious than it was when we first met.

    Thank you so much for your beautiful 'welcome home'... I promise not to be away for anywhere near that length of time EVER!!

    Your photography, as always has me gasping and staring, and reveling in the incredible beauty you bring to this world.

    You are so very loved and appreciated, and yes... every single student and parent and person in your life should consider themselves blessed indeed.

    So very much love to you my beautiful girl... always


  18. wow 51 students!!

    you have a pretty amazing heart i must say they are very very very very lucky to have you in their lives.

  19. I would guess that you are a wonderful teacher and they are so, so lucky to have you. I hadn't a single teacher all my life that made a positive impact on me and I've wondered where are these wonderful teachers that people talk about changing their lives? I think we know now :)

  20. My wife's mother taught piano in southern Ohio for many years. The students always held her in high regard. I am not sure recitals were involved but many went on to musical careers.
    I will always recall the times from my childhood when I had to stand before an audience and present a talent. It always gives me joy.

  21. wow, your images are simply beautiful