Growing up as the oldest daughter of a piano teacher, I was destined to learn to play. Not a day has gone by that I'm not thankful for this. My mother taught me, and my father impressed upon the importance of being willing to share this talent with those who needed it, particularly at church. My parents knew all too well that there are never enough people willing and able to play :)
I began teaching myself right after Savannah was born. She was the happiest baby and would sit in her chair and just listen. She didn't cry. She didn't squirm. In fact, she seemed to enjoy it. Imagine my surprise when at just 3 years old, my tiny little girl came up to me and told me she wanted to learn. Three year olds do not play the piano. 4 year olds do not play the piano. Most 5 and 6 year olds are still not ready to play the piano. And here was my three year old telling me she wanted to learn. I told her frankly that she was not old enough- she didn't even know her letters- how could she play the piano? Just a few days later, that sweet little 3 year old came to me and told me, "Mom, I've learned A-G and that's all I need to know to play the piano." I was amazed that she had picked that up just from listening to me teach other students, and thought I would humor her a little bit since she had put in so much effort. I told her I would teach her the finger numbers but that was it. She would have to wait until she was older to learn more.
And so I did. And it wasn't good enough for her. She took it upon herself to move along- to go ahead of what I was showing her. She had listened and learned enough just by watching me teach others, that she was able to pick up much more than she should have been. And so, my tiny little 3 year old daughter began reading music. At 4, she played in her first recital. At 4 1/2 she competed in her first piano festival where she got a 97/100. Students aren't allowed to enter unless they can read music on the grand staff and play with both hands simultaneously. You should have seen the look on the face of the judge as I walked her to the classroom to play her songs. You should have seen the smile on that judges face as she walked her back out to me.
I stopped teaching when I had my boys. It was just too hard to teach and juggle 2 babies. They didn't sit there, happy, like their sister had. They wanted my undivided attention. To everything there is a season, right?
My boys are older now. Mason is now old enough to help out with them. I also now have a room with locking double doors where I can teach, in peace, without interruption. And so, after a few years off, I decided to begin teaching again. I initially said I would just pick up 5 students. I don't have a lot of extra time but it's something I wanted to do. I was surprised when word got out that I was teaching, and I was bombarded with phone calls. I ended up taking quite a few more students than I had planned, but I still kept it manageable.
As I've begun teaching again, and loving every second of it, I found
myself reflecting back on my sweet little girl and her amazing ability.
If someone told me they had a child that age who could actually play the
piano- I'm not sure I would believe them. So I'm sure glad I took
videos of that little girl doing her thang :) Here are 2 videos of
Savannah playing, right before her first recital in 2008. This wasn't the actual performance and she's kind of in her own little world- she looks around the room and makes a few mistakes, but even so, I love watching these videos :) I can't wait to see what she does in the future!