The Gift of Music

May 13, 2012
By Navi_ BRONZE, Des Moines, Iowa
Navi_ BRONZE, Des Moines, Iowa
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
Reach for the stars, so if you fall you'll land on the clouds.
- Kanye West

There are some whose influence goes far beyond their designation. Mrs. Swanson is my piano teacher and mentor; however, these titles do not do justice to the gifts she has imparted to me. The gift of music is primarily a slogan found in music stores. I had never considered the meaning of this phrase until quite recently, when it hit me that the upcoming piano performance would likely be my last.
The story began with a three-year-old boy napping on the rug of a quaint living room containing three pianos—one very new, one slightly older, and one antique. This little boy, unaware of the role this room would play in his childhood, naps during his brother’s piano lesson.
She says I was absorbing the music simply by being around it.

Fast-forward fifteen years—the annual recital at which each of Mrs. Swanson’s students plays one song. As her most advanced student, I was the final performer. Following the conclusion of the recital, all of her students and their parents mingle, while eating Mrs. Swanson’s warm, freshly-baked cookies. As I leave the church for the last time, a parent (who I had never met) tells me that they will miss hearing me perform each year, and that their little boy looks up to my piano playing. The feeling is bittersweet—gratitude and pride are mixed with the realization that I will never again play the piano in Mrs. Swanson’s living room.

Piano has been a gift in many respects. Firstly, Mrs. Swanson gave me the ability to play and enjoy a variety of music. Her relaxed but focused teaching style showed me that my individual listening and practices are the way in which I will improve. This independence and motivation that she has bestowed upon me transfers smoothly to other aspects of life, where I will have to take responsibility of my progress. One of her former students (my brother) once said “Piano is an island of joy amid a sea of stress.” Again, part of the enjoyment stems from her calm, encouraging style. The emphasis on listening gives me the ability to recognize and appreciate good music, something from which I will benefit in the future. Finally, Mrs. Swanson has set a wonderful example of how to be a mentor to children of various ages. Her patience and mild demeanor make her very easy to interact with, yet your positive reinforcement makes the younger students eager to practice and show improvement. Without her saying anything, I always felt a tinge of guilt if I had not practiced sufficiently (during the previous week). In the future, I will try to emulate the guidance she has given me, with the hope of helping a child in the way she has helped me and so many others.
There is no way I can fully thank her.

The author's comments:
I really wanted to express my gratitude to my piano teacher. She has played a significant role in making me who I am.

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