- *student eyeing large baby grand piano*
- Does this fold up?
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.
Oh the witty banter… It is absolutely endless. If you have never read a Wilde play, An Ideal Husband is a great introduction to the wit that characterizes his work. The plot centers around a blackmailing scheme that threatens a wealthy young couple, heralded in British society as being one of the few influential families with untainted moral standing. Really the plot is just a catalyst for the true darling of the play, Lord Goring, a thirty four year old bachelor who only admits to being thirty one and walks a fine line between prattling on about nothing at all and delivering actual pearls of wisdom.
"Never mind what I say… I am always saying what I shouldn’t say. In fact, I usually say what I really think. A great mistake nowadays. It makes one so liable to be misunderstood."
Well acquainted with the flippancy of worldly society, Goring’s eternal fountain of razor sharp rebuttals are Maggie Smith-worthy. He plays a subtle character in the first two acts but takes center stage for acts three and four. Goring provides the comedy while Mr. and Mrs. Chiltern provide depth as they weather the blackmail storm, confront their weakness and learn to forgive each others failings. As usual, Wilde twists and turns the plot into various knots but at the last minute ties it up cleanly in a little bow and everyone is better off for the wear.
AND, it is a play so it only takes two hours to read, so really you have absolutely no excuse not to read it.
I am sorry. You are so tired and still I make you work to type this letter to yourselves. I’ve worked you hard this summer and I have not thanked you properly. I see my mistake now . You are communicating to me well these days.
Pinky, I understand that you are unhappy about being made to hold a paint brush for five hours yesterday as I painted every inch of trim in sight. I know that it was terribly awkward positions you were in and the precision and accuracy I required was delivered with difficulty. I’m sorry.
And two weeks ago when I made you work until 2:30am trying to get those key tops off with a razor blade and then made you get up at 6 to finish the job, I am sorry for that. It was mean. You were swollen and bruised for days afterwards and those huge callouses you built up to grip the razor blade were quite painful.
I’m sorry for covering you in gloves and making you sweat for days on end while your fingers numbly scrubbed acetone all over a piano.
I’m sorry for slicing your finger and then making you play a wedding the next day on it. At least I didn’t have to use super glue this time…?
I’m sorry for the amount of dirt that is perpetually under your nails.
I’m sorry for that silly rubber band twirling habit that makes you work incessantly when it is completely unnecessary.
I’m sorry for making you pluck harp strings for hours and then turning around and making you push piano keys for more hours.
I’m sorry for going to a two hour band practice and making you play octaves the whole time when you were still cramped from the day before.
I’m sorry that you a rough and hard and scratchy now.
I’m sorry your third finger has a flat spot on top from where I hold my pen incorrectly.
I’m sorry that you didn’t get a break like last summer.
But it’s okay little hands. Even though you have been swollen, bruised, beaten and bloody the past few months, you have done the job admirably. I know that you have seen better days but I also know that worse days are coming. Someday you will have arthritic joints, calcium deposits on your knuckles, and carpel tunnel, but those days aren’t here yet. I appreciate that you keep plugging along. You keep moving when the rest of me has long since given up. Callouses and scars aren’t so bad. They are just signs of dedication and hard work. You’ll get used to it eventually.
Lots of love and appreciation,
I’m BACK!!!! Summer is over. Today is the first day of work. Well, I worked all summer, but this is the first day of lessons for the semester. I was very busy over the summer though! More before and after pictures of the house coming soon.
This was my major piano project for the summer:
His name is Arthur :) I found him on craigslist, picked him up along with my five other pianos and brought him to my new workshop. He had some major sun damage and the case was unevenly faded. So, I decided to tackle re-staining! This may or may not have been a good idea. It was a huge project. HUGE.
First I took the entire thing apart.
Then I stripped it with acetone and steel wool. This part took…. FOREVVVVERRRR. “Forever” like how they say it in Sandlot, not just “forever”, “Forreevvvveerrrr.” I went through about twenty strips of steel wool and a gallon of acetone. And for the record, acetone freezes your hands because it evaporates so quickly. So picture hours and hours of scrubbing with freezing, cramping hands, trying to get this ridiculous finish off multiple, large pieces of Arthur. Not fun. BUT. I’d do it again because I learned a few tricks and a few short cuts. And there is such a thing called Pandora Radio so really, it isn’t too bad.
Next I selected a stain. I had a family from my studio claim him right off the bat so I was able to work with them to find a stain that they really wanted. Before:
Oh he looked so lovely… There is actually some good technique to learn while applying stain to a long strip of wood! It’s all in the wrist… This part is enjoyable because it is like creating a piece of art work.
Slap some polyurethane on there and you are good to go! Just kidding, don’t slap it, apply it very carefully and accurately…
TADAAAAA! One week, two swollen hands, three destroyed pairs of gloves, and a huge mess later….
He’s so beautiful. And now he’s sitting in a new home being enjoyed by my students!