Teaching the piano is not for the faint of heart. It seems like we have to play every role and endure a lot at times – we encourage, inspire, humor, scream, calm, console. We deal with happiness and joys, but also frustration, stage fright, recalcitrance, laziness.

Sometimes we are inspired and amazed by our students! But we do all of this without any guarantee. Sometimes the students we pour our sweat and tears into – the ones that keep us awake at night – decide that piano is just not for them, throw in the towel, and make us wonder where all those years of effort went.

I think all of us who teach have felt this way. But when it’s good, and sometimes it is, it’s really good.

Last night was the final recital of my student Rebecca, who is going off to college this year. She is one of the most talented, musical, and hard working people I’ve ever had the honor of teaching. After her performance, she gave a very moving speech. It was an unexpected surprise, and I was not prepared – I don’t think I was the only one in the room who teared up a bit.

After the recital, she gave me a gift: a mechanical metronome. I unwrapped it later that evening, and attached to the front was a post-it note . . . a message from myself no doubt – words I’ve spoken too many times to remember. The quote read: “Just put on the metronome and drill the heck out of it.”

I will miss working with this amazing individual. This is what makes teaching the piano worth it.