At some point in your life you will be faced with a seemingly impossible hurdle; a challenge that will test the very essence of your being. Six months ago, I came face-to-face with my hurdle…
The Piano and the Ponytail
Six months ago our second daughter was born. And with Andrea in the hospital for a couple days, the responsibility of my 5 year old’s morning hairdo fell heavily on my shoulders. Now this may not seem like a daunting task to most of you, but I know that the fathers who read this blog understand the magnitude of the challenge I faced.
I had certainly tried to put Lexi’s hair into a ponytail before, but it always turned into a muddled rat’s nest and Andrea would quickly take over. But this time I had nobody to rely on.
Well, I gave it the good old college try, but even after 30 frustrating minutes of unintentional hair pulling and desperate searching for a seemingly invisible part in my daughter’s hair, her golden locks looked a little “ratty”. And with the clock ticking, I had no choice but to send her off to preschool, and then to her piano lesson, looking a little disheveled.
Note- Check out Lexi’s fancy birthday hair in the picture… definitely NOT my handy work! 🙂
But the Story Doesn’t End There!
I am not one to accept failure, so once things with our newborn had settled, I began to carefully observe Andrea as she did Lexi’s hair each morning; taking notes and asking questions. Then, under the guise of “playing hairdresser” with Lexi, I started to put into practice some of the things I was learning. In no time at all I started to really get the hang of the whole ponytail thing; and it was all because of a few little points I picked up on that nobody (thanks honey!) had ever cared to share with me before…
1. Make sure Lexi uses conditioner
2. Ponytails are easier when the hair is wet
3. Brush the hair straight back and let it fall into its natural part
4. Switch to a comb when getting all of those frustrating little bumps out
And there you have it! I am not saying Lexi is going to give Andrea the heave-ho when its time to get dolled up for her next piano recital, but at least she’s not afraid to show her face when Dad’s home alone and we need to go out in public.
So… Are You Going to Talk About Piano Teaching At All?!
What I learned from my ponytail triumph is that sometimes a seemingly impossible challenge is easily conquered by knowing a few little secrets. For Andrea, ponytail creation comes naturally after years of experience… and some of the little tricks that she takes for granted, but didn’t think to share with me, happened to be the secrets to my success. Andrea wasn’t purposely being vindictive or attempting to get a good laugh at my expense; ponytail creation had become instinctive to her, and therefore she didn’t even recognize the skill set required for success.
Piano Teachers Risk Falling Into This Same Situation
After taking piano lessons for an entire childhood and then teaching piano to kids for the better part of adulthood, most piano teachers play instinctively. And when this happens, sometimes teachers forget the little piano teaching tips and tricks that helped them achieve piano playing (and teaching) success.
So… the next time you have a piano student struggling with a skill, concept, or technique, think back 15, 20, 30, or 50 years to when piano playing didn’t come naturally to you. What little tips and tricks (that you now take for granted) will be the secrets to success for your struggling students?