Most people think my job as a piano teacher is fairly straight forward. And most days it is! There have been days, however, when I have found myself staring into the mirror in my piano studio wondering how I’d suddenly been transported to the twilight zone.
I’m sure you’ve all had those lessons where you emerge from your studio feeling as though the only way you could possible recover was with a year at a spa. We’d love to hear your craziest piano lesson story in the comments section below.
So, I thought I’d share my Top 7 Craziest Piano Lesson moments. Enjoy at my expense 😉
1. The Wedding Singer
I had a student sign up for our Christmas Gift Certificate promo for 6 lessons last year. Her only goal in taking the lessons was to learn to chord along on the piano enough to accompany herself while she serenaded her fiancé at their upcoming wedding reception. Not too out there… until she showed me her song choice. Rollin’ in the Deep by Adele is not exactly a wedding song (if you really listen to the lyrics it’s clearly a break-up song)… Rollin’ in the Deep by Adele is also not a great song to attempt to sing if you’re not a singer. This student was not. 6 lessons of torture.
2. Say What?
Imagine the look on my face when I opened my studio door expecting to see my sweet 9 year old student, Jessica, and instead found Kiki. Kiki was an exchange student from Thailand who was staying with their family. Jessica was ill, so they had sent Kiki in her place (without telling me). Kiki spoke not a single word of English. Kiki had never touched the piano in her life. This was probably the most unproductive lesson I’ve ever taught as most of it surrounded us trying to make the other understand what we were saying. Instant migraine.
3. That’s A Door… Not a Ladder
I briefly touched on this lesson experience when discussing How to Teach Piano to Anthony Ants-in-his-pants. My severely ADHD student spent one entire lesson attempting to climb the grate of my beautiful glass french door in my studio. His brain seemed to be intensely fixated on the fact that it looked like a ladder (and it does… I’ll give him that). I’ve run several half-marathons, but I’ve never sweated so much as I have that day attempting to re-direct his attention to the piano… both for his own sake, but also for the sake of my poor door.
4. Excuse Me… I’m Going to Be Sick
Piano teachers deal with ill students being sent to lessons all the time (grrrr…!) but I thought I had seen it all when a student arrived with a bucket to vomit in should she need to. There was nothing but a cloud of dust in my driveway – no parents to be seen. I was left with 30 minutes to supervise my green-around-the-gills student while attempting to preserve my carpets. She didn’t make it to the bucket. She did make it to my bookshelf.
5. Dr. Doolittle At The Piano
I started off teaching piano lessons in the homes of my students. One of my families was clearly animal lovers – but to the extent of being almost insane. My time spent teaching there was interesting to say the least. I somehow managed to teach lessons with their Golden Retriever’s head placed firmly in my lap (insisting on a never-ending head scratch), their family cat who liked to drape himself like a scarf across the shoulders of anyone with long hair (that’d be me), a Cockatoo who screeched like a banshee from his perch in the corner, an iguana who had an unnerving way of appearing out of the corner of my eye (no cage constraints for him!) and a small terrier who was not yet house-trained, but who tried his darndest to show me he was… trying.
6. Will This Alligator Piano Work?
I’ll never forget the first piano lesson I taught in the home of my newest student. I had discussed piano purchase options over the phone with her mom when they registered and they assured me they would be purchasing an instrument that weekend. When I arrived she apologized profusely for not getting around to purchasing the piano, but directed me to their “music room” where their daughter was waiting on what she hoped we could use for this week’s lesson. Have you seen those toy pianos that are bright green and shaped like an Alligator? This is what their eager child waited in front of for her first piano lesson. We did a lot of “off the bench” activities that week…
7. ‘Scuze me While I Grab a Towel
This one takes the cake in my mind. Once again I was a traveling piano teacher and arrived at my student’s home for their lesson. No one answered when I knocked, but there was a note taped to the door that let me know they were in the backyard. The note neglected to tell me that they were skinny dipping as a family in their backyard pool. Awkward is not a strong enough word. Mortifying comes close. Try teaching piano lessons after that one.
It’s true what they say… time heals all wounds. In fact, I had a few good chuckles writing this post as I remembered the details of each of these lessons. I’m sure you too have some great stories to share – we’d love to read them. Leave your “Craziest Piano Lesson I’ve Ever Taught” in the comment section below.
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