At once, he knew. Were it not for this Gift — her words of encouragement, her willingness to bend and follow his youthful wanderings, her determination to keep her student on the path he was meant to follow — were it not for this Teacher, Mentor and Friend, the music might have ended.
In a year of lasts and firsts, our son gave his final piano recital this week. A graduating senior, he was the last to draw up the piano bench and pose fingers over the keys. Trailing at the end of an event filled with everything from Beethoven and Chopin to Mancini and Billy Joel, he offered up his original composition, “Take Me Home”.
Two years ago, he wanted to close the door on piano, to put an end to the drills and study. But his Teacher encouraged him to stay and challenged him to set new goals. He accepted the challenge.
“What did you think?” the Teacher asks as we munch her homemade cookies after the music ends. Surrounded by family and friends of her 25 students, she knows our son labored over the song on a piano away from home. We hadn’t heard more than snippets of his composition until this moment — his gift to us.
Encouragement. Faith. Creativity. Determination.
Facets of the Gift this Teacher gave to our son, her pupil — the Gift she has offered all her students these many years she’s welcomed budding musicians into her home studio. On this night, she takes note of a first. A third generation of pupils will climb steps to the stage and sit at the beautiful black Baby Grand piano. Mother, daughter and now a son, a beginning student. A legacy of music in one family, thanks to Teacher’s Gift.
So when our son hands Teacher the card with the gratitude he wants to voice, he returns her Gift of encouragement. And as they sit together at the piano for a photo, pride shines on both their faces.
“Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.”
German Writer Goethe over 200 years ago
Encouragement layered over instruction can build a future, set a course, define a path. For our son, the path will be further study of the mechanics, tone, voice, structure of this instrument he loves
Teacher leading pupil deeper into the mysteries of music theory, through the wonder of giving voice to the melodies filling his dreams — it is everything.
It is a Gift.