Pounding the Ivories

There’s this thing we grownups have to do, and it’s called work.

I think that an actual grownup would probably call themselves an adult, not a grownup, but you know. I’m really just a child who’s forced to do adult things like pay bills and put money in an IRA.

P likes to say that he brings home the bacon, but I always argue that we bring home equal bacon. Then he keeps saying it just to bug me, so I eventually ignore him.

He really does work hard to bring home the bacon, or money, or whatever it is that they pay him.

My work is not an 8-5 office job. Really, I have multiple jobs, and I go from place to place.

No, I’m not a traveling salesman. Or saleswoman.

What I consider my “main job” is teaching piano lessons. I have around 20 students, with a few more starting this summer, and I love it. I was a piano major in college, and it really wore me out on the performance side of music. Being a music major is hard work! Teaching piano is hard work too, but it definitely has more fun parts to it.

One day a week, I teach lessons at an after-school program.  One day a week, I teach lessons at a music academy in town. The other days, I go to people’s houses and teach their kids there.

They are all ages from 5-14, and all different levels, though I have a lot of beginners.

Here’s a funny anecdote from one of my recent lessons.

We’ll call this student Steven. Steven is in kindergarten and is 6 years old. In the first lesson, we cover finger numbers. Each finger gets a number, starting with your thumb being number 1, and so on.  We do activities and games practicing the finger numbers.

One game I use is Simon Says. Here’s the conversation between Steven and I while playing Simon Says.

Emily: “Simon says play a high note with finger number 3.”
Steven: (counts on his fingers) “This is the bad finger.” (As he sticks out his middle finger to show me)
Emily: “Well, it’s not a bad finger for piano. We have to use all of our fingers.”
Steven: “This is the devil finger!”
Emily: “Ummm…”
Steven: “Yes, it’s the devil finger because God uses it to point at the devil.”
Emily: “Okay well, um, can you play a high note with it?” (Inside my mind, I’m trying not to laugh. Because the scariest thing that God could do to the devil is definitely pointing his middle finger at him. Definitely.)

I’ve had lots of beginner students, and this is the first time anyone has ever said anything about the middle finger. I admit, it’s always been in the back of my mind, but I figure, most 6 year olds don’t really know about it or think about it.

I think from now on, when I teach finger numbers, we’ll just skip calling the middle finger “number 3” and just call it “the devil finger.” Has a nice ring to it, don’t you agree?


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