the best compliment ever

One summer afternoon I finished up teaching lessons to two little boys (on a totally unrelated note, these brothers were AMAZING students. They practiced EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Without fail. They were a teacher’s dream.). Their parents were late picking them up, so we had a little time to kill. I decided to play a piece for them. I sat down and played a little bit of Liszt’s Un Sospiro (Etude in D-flat Major). I finished up and turned to look at my students, who were standing there, stunned. One of them said, in amazement, “You sound like the freakin’ radio!” This is, by far, my favorite compliment I have ever received. It just cracks me up.

Our students need to hear us play! They need to know not only that we know what we are talking about, but that we practice what we preach and practice the piano just like they do. On a side note, I am definitely not perfect and this is something I am working on; I know I have a lot of room for improvement in this category (regular practicing, that is) since becoming a mommy and having precious little time to myself (I am sure you other mommas can surely relate!).

One of the things that I admire most about my piano teacher in college is that he was always practicing. It seems like every time I’d walk past his office, if he wasn’t teaching he’d be practicing up a storm. How inspiring, to see your own teacher practicing so diligently, and to know without a doubt that they absolutely know what they are teaching, and that they are exhibiting the same hard work that they expect of you!

Jennifer Boster

4 Responses to “the best compliment ever

  • Did you ever consider playing at your students recital? I was reading this somewhere on the web and am thinking about it. But I am afraid parents and children might be bored if the recital is already long enough… I would love to hear your opinion!
    By the way: thank you for this great site!!!

  • Martina – thanks for the comment! Yes I actually usually have done that in the past. I think it is a great thing to do – why not give your students and their parents an opportunity to hear you perform? I definitely think that it also makes the recital LESS boring (especially if you teach mostly beginners and most of the pieces performed are pretty simple – it can help shake things up a bit and make it more exciting!).

  • Thank you, Jenny! I really think about doing it next week – it would be the first time for me playing in a students recital. Right now, I love playing Debussy's "Reflets dans l'eau" which is nice for a summer recital.
    I discovered your blog through "Music Matters Blog" and I enjoy reading your archives. Keep up the great work, and thanks for all the time you are putting in this site!

  • That is such a funny story about your student! And, thank you for helping me figure something out. I heard a piano piece on the classical radio but missed the title and I couldn't remember its name. And then I read your post and realized, "Oh! It was Un Sospiro!" Kind of random. 🙂