Hung out at a garden today for about three hours! Love playing out side (in the shade). #azaleafestival #harp

Hung out at a garden today for about three hours! Love playing out side (in the shade). #azaleafestival #harp

Anatomy of a Piano: Agnes

It was a crisp morning bursting with potential. I was on a mission to stock my entire house on a budget of $50. Repeating “Veni, vidi, vici” to myself I braced myself for a morning of yard sales. An hour in, I had still found nothing. Getting increasingly frustrated as time wore on, I finally saw this yard sale with little promise, but peeking out just where I could see it was a piano. It was a sad looking three quarter size aeolian spinet with tired looking key tops and a shoddy, unkempt exterior. I was sold. The woman told me to make her an offer and I said, “Fifty bucks” and she said, “Sold”. It was so small that I could load it in the back of the van (with some men of course).
Meet Agnes:

Agnes immediately got new key tops.

I filed hammers, learned how to replace let off buttons…

Painted the exterior and patched some missing veneer…

Learned how to apply a new decal…

And am at last ready present the finished product!!

First accidental broken hammer. Broke a two and a half year record along with it :( #uggggg #pianotech #pianotlc #piano

First accidental broken hammer. Broke a two and a half year record along with it :( #uggggg #pianotech #pianotlc #piano

Coming soon: Anatomy of a Piano series. Be excited. #piano #pianotech

Coming soon: Anatomy of a Piano series. Be excited. #piano #pianotech

Snowy Thoughts

In the rare circumstance that the temperature meanders below the degree of forty, my cute little town shuts down, its inhabitants rush to the store and buy all of the bread (because of course, bread is the one thing you need in the event of an apocalypse), school is cancelled, and everyone sits at home all day peeping out the window waiting for… Something… but at the end of the day the temperature rises back to a healthy forty-five degrees and life resumes without leaving so much as a fallen leaf to mark its absence.
This week, not only did the temperature drop below forty (the first sign of forthcoming doom) but there actually was a bit of ice and snow that found itself on top of my roof this morning. The spell cast, I now sit at home playing sonatas much too fast, reading Sherlock Holmes, and wondering why it is so difficult to relax.
Taking advantage of a moment with nothing to do, I seize the rarity of the circumstances to update you on my life.
I have been in my home now for nearly eight months. The honeymoon has not been concluded and I still wake up every day and wonder whose adorable dwelling I am in and what I did to get here. The stress of paying mortgages, energy bills and taxes is easily outweighed by the happiness of hosting and creating warmth that I hope characterizes The Gray Chalet. I have added a number of skill sets in my time here. Thus far I have fixed a leaky sink, installed a washer machine, become an expert trim-painter (no tape needed), door knob fixer, cabinet handle installer, and on top of it all, I have kept two fish alive for six months.
Being a creature of habit, I have locked into a rhythm of working, housekeeping, eating, repeat, that helps me to pass the days of winter plodding in relative happiness. Juggling my three different entrepreneurial pursuits and maintaining order in the house is still a work in progress.
But for the most part, I consider myself blessed to discounted from the multitudes in my generation who are desperately trying to find their place in the world by slogging through the baffling concoction of “pursuing dreams” and “moneymoneymoney” that our culture has peddled as an elixir. It saddens me to be an exception to the general confusion I encounter when meeting someone attempting to make the jump from childhood to adulthood and find themselves disillusioned by the difficulties of making a living in today’s age while striving to “be true to themselves”; I wish it had been as smooth a transition for everyone as it was for me. Did I follow my dreams? No… I can’t remember having any great desire to be a piano teacher. Did I find something that would make the most money? No… Just enough to live on. It is a quiet life I lead, but a happy one. I have a direction and purpose, at least through the next day, and I enjoy seeing the fruits of my labors. I am making an investment, not in a huge career that will rocket me into fame and money, but in a life filled with simple pleasures, different opportunities and the flexibility to take them, and an open mind regarding the future and the passing of time. Most of the time I just keep my head down and put one foot in front of the other.

Cute Quotes

  • *student eyeing large baby grand piano*
  • Does this fold up?

Thursdays

I love Thursdays.
My first student is the sweetest little boy I have ever taught. With hair gelled straight up in the front he walked in last week in a pair of overalls and said, “Wook Ms. Hannah I wook wike a cuntry boy in deese overalls!” Every week he thanks me for teaching him. “You a good teachah Ms. Hannah.” I swear the kid could be Huck Fin incarnate. This week he said, “You wearin yor hair down today Ms. Hannah it looks so purty wif it straight wike dat!”
Then I have two sisters as opposite as night and day. The youngest always goes first and she struts right up to that piano with her hair pulled back tight in a high pony tail and tackles every ounce of music til it sounds princess worthy. The older sister has been coming to me for about four years and I have yet to see her walk in the door without a book in front of her face. With hair straight down and glasses pushed up on her nose I have to remind her to breathe every once in a while when she gets buried in a seemingly endless amount of notes. They bring me cake pops and fresh baked bread. The way to a teachers heart is through her stomach…
Then there is my most recent seven year old. She’s so short her little legs swing under the piano and her flip flops fly off all the time. She has thick glasses that make her eyes look like giant saucers and when she makes a mistake she wriggles like a fish and mutters “NO” then holds her breath and plunges in again. Last week she had her shirt on backwards and a gaping hole where her front teeth used to be, making her inability to say her “r”s even funnier. She tries so hard and asks so many questions.
I am so thankful for having such a great set of kids this year. They remind me why I love my job so much. There is nothing like watching kids soak up life and learning like a sponge and being able to laugh at the crazy connections they make in their brains. I love my job.

Cute Quotes

  • Me - Be careful not to form a bad habit when you play! I'm sure you know how hard bad habits are to break...
  • Student - Oh yes! I still pick my boogers and bite my nails!
"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Invariably one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts."
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
"Lord Goring - you see Phipps, fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear.
Phipps - yes, my lord.
Lord Goring - just as vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people.
Phipps - yes, my lord.
Lord Goring - and falsehoods the truths of other people.
Phipps - yes, my lord.
Lord Goring - other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.
Phipps - yes, my lord.
Lord Goring - to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance, Phipps.
Phipps - yes, my lord."
Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband