Our great piano teacher moved away this summer.
We all felt pretty awful about it, because we loved her and my girls were making such progress.
But we found a new lady who seemed great over the phone, and at the end of the whole summer hoopla, that first Saturday after the first few days of school, we loaded up and headed to her house.
The older girls were fine with the adjustment.
But as is becoming more and more common with Lucy, that first piano lesson was a rocky one for her. She wasn’t emotionally prepared and I kicked myself that I hadn’t talked through everything with her before we left. I know better.
It’s always difficult to know how much to tell teachers about Lucy. I want them to know what they’re dealing with, but I also want, in a way, to act like everything is normal. I don’t want them to start with a negative impression of tough stuff that may come along with BBS. I don’t want to set Lucy up to fail. It’s an interesting balance.
I had warned this teacher that she is losing her vision and is sometimes emotional, and sure enough, within minutes Lucy had huge crocodile tears rolling down her cheeks.
When this happens her glasses get all fogged up and she has to lift them up to the top of her head over and over again while she wipes away all those plump tears spilling out. And my heart just broke because I know her well, and at this point there is no turning back. It’s downhill until we can talk through things after she’s calmed down. The teacher realized she really couldn’t see the notes very well, so she whipped up her own larger sheet music with a Sharpie marker. Now Lucy could SEE the music, but she was confused with no measures and notes quickly scribbled on the paper. She likes to count (unlike any other child I have seen) and she didn’t know how to count those uneven measures and she fell apart more and more by the minute.
On the outside I’m sure I looked fine, composed, trying to console, but on the inside there were parts of me just breaking up into pieces.
This is hard.
I want her to see.
I don’t want to search for large-note sheet music and have piano practicing turn into something horrible. I know this sounds whiney and complaining, but oh how I just want her to continue on her happy little road of counting those measures with her sing-songy voice and loving to practice. I wasn’t ready for that stage to evaporate! I took it so for granted that she could see well enough to learn what she had learned so far! I should know better than to take anything for granted these days. The things she can do are narrowing down so quickly it seems.
Please don’t take away piano too!
We went home and I was determined to get to the bottom of why things went so awry. True, the new piano teacher’s home is a little dark and Lucy’s used to sitting at the piano here with a whole wall of windows to light her way. But could she even see the notes here? Was she just memorizing things?We sat down at the piano and I gave her my own new lesson. And she did it. With confidence. But I realized that her confidence was more from us going over the notes over and over again, telling her which ones went up and which ones went down. She has to stand up close to the music to really tell what those patterns are. But still, I gave her a new lesson.
And her sing-songy counting voice came back along with the smile on her face.
A few days later, after I had calmed my heart a little, I called the piano teacher and went over all my thoughts. And she shared hers as well. We had a great conversation and she is really up for the task, wanting to take on writing up larger sheet-music for Lucy and figuring out her sometimes-moodiness. And so far, it’s going pretty great. She is back to confident practicing and that task oriented little girl of mine loves to mark off that spot for practicing on her job chart once again.
It makes me so grateful all over again for the good people in her life who are willing to bend over backwards to help her and love her and watch her bloom.
But I’m still on the look-out for larger sheet music and there’s an extra chink in my heart sorrowing that vision she uses so much is slipping out of both our grasps more quickly than we’re ready.