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A story about my ignorant neighbor
#1939376 08/08/12 01:04 PM
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We recently had new neighbors move in next door. They have 2 little kids (4 & 6) and I was excited about maybe teaching them piano. We saw the dad outside one afternoon and introduced ourselves. My husband and I aren't very sociable, but it was the neighborly thing to do. The dad seemed nice and pretty chatty.

He goes on and on about what he does for a living and asks, "so might I ask what you all do?" I perk up and tell him I'm a piano teacher with a big grin on my face (because I love what I do). He casually replies,

"Oh, my wife thinks she can play piano or whatever and probably wants to get the kids involved in that, but I don't see the value in piano lessons."

I just stood there. My smile faded. I thought to myself, "what an idiot, this is our neighbor?"

I'd have to say, in this instance, ignorance is not bliss. It's crippling, stifling, and just plain rude. At first it made me angry; how can this person completely insult what I do for a living and not even realize it? But I get it now...ignorance.

I don't have many music teacher friends to vent to, so I wanted to share my encounter here. I feel better.

Last edited by piano_teacher29; 08/08/12 01:04 PM.
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Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939380 08/08/12 01:12 PM
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I think this is a wonderful opportunity to explain why piano (or really any music) lessons are important to children.

Jonathan

Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939386 08/08/12 01:21 PM
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Teaching neighbor's kids is not a great idea, IMHO.


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Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939387 08/08/12 01:23 PM
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Hmmm...I don't get the impression that this is a person open to learning anything. Probably best that you walked away.


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Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939389 08/08/12 01:24 PM
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frown

No offense to the sports fans out there, but I bet this guy loves his sports. That's a real activity for the kids.

My mom once told an old friend of hers in conversation that her son teaches piano for a living. He got a befuddled look on his face and said "Really, he teaches piano lessons? Really, that's what he does?" This after going on and on about how his son is a successful whatever with so-and-so company and how he makes some great amount of money. The guy was an ex-athlete and obviously quite ignorant.

I enjoy knowing that as long as I have a brain and fingers I can play piano and enjoy the benefits of it. Meanwhile, all the old washed up athletes can live in their world of memories.

Again, don't get me wrong. I know there are a lot of musicians who are also into sports. Nothing wrong with that. Sports have their benefits too. I don't know any musicians who would say that sports have no value. But I've known plenty of athletes/sports fans who think piano is for wimps. Music enriches us and helps us get past this kind of ignorance.


Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
Scott Coletta #1939395 08/08/12 01:44 PM
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HA! He was wearing a Patriots cap and shirt!

I grew up playing competitive softball and played piano. It was interesting showing up at my lessons with a jammed middle finger (I was a catcher), but it worked out alright and in the end I pursued piano in college. Softball was fun, but piano was my life.

Piano lasts a lifetime. It keeps the mind strong. There are always new challenges, new pieces, new discoveries. I discovered a love of other languages through music. I learned patience at a very young age. Piano gave me confidence that nothing else has ever compared to. Music is something to share with people. It is not just a skill, it's a gift.

My grandfather gave me a little placard when I was young that I keep in my studio today, and although I'm sure many people have seen this quote before I will share,

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life"
-Berthold Auerbach (1812-1882)

Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939415 08/08/12 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by piano_teacher29
"Oh, my wife thinks she can play piano or whatever and probably wants to get the kids involved in that, but I don't see the value in piano lessons."

He and 95% of the world feel that way. I don't think there's anything you can do to change the way he and that 95% feel about piano lessons. Just be content that you're working with the top 5% of the world population (or those who strive to be in the top 5% of the world population).

Ignorance is not bliss; it's the sign of a commoner. Consider yourself a superior human being.


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Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939421 08/08/12 02:46 PM
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Sports are not for everyone, and (to state the obvious), neither is music - actually less so. Just think of your new neighbor as A Case Study in Natural Selection.

[EDIT] Oops, AZN beat me to it!

Ed

Last edited by LoPresti; 08/08/12 02:48 PM.

In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
AZNpiano #1939427 08/08/12 02:54 PM
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What makes me sad is his children (unless his wife has the say so) will not have the chance to become "superior human beings".

Last edited by piano_teacher29; 08/08/12 02:56 PM.
Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939430 08/08/12 02:58 PM
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Ugghh.. not sure which is worse, thinking that piano lessons are useless, or being insensitive enough to say that to a piano teacher.

I remember playing a jazz piano gig at a very expensive restaurant when I was going to university, and some CEO asked me if I actually planned to make a living off of piano and I said, "No, actually I'm working on a degree in communication", and he said,"What are you going to do with that? Fix telephones?". Yikes. I was thinking (but unfortunately didn't say it out loud, "Nope, I'm going to make sure big executives like you don't say stupid things in public". I'm sure he was a living nightmare for a PR or communication consultant somewhere out there.

Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939432 08/08/12 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by piano_teacher29
What makes me sad is his children (unless his wife has the say so) will not have the chance to become "superior human beings".


It's a good thing the stereotype is that wives are the ones really in charge then! However, I do have to say - I have never come across someone who was so antagonistic against piano lessons. People are usually very impressed (or maybe I'm biased!). Maybe not by the teaching profession itself, but I can't imagine many are impressed by coaches of sports either. It's a shame that people don't understand how difficult and important teaching is.

Of course, my children do 'it all' - and I don't expect any of them to become particularly gifted at one thing over another. I have a daughter who will be attending a conservatory for piano in just a month (which scares me in my own right!). I have son who's going to be on three varsity teams this year even though he is a sophomore. My daughter had to be active in sports and my son still takes piano lessons. It's all about balance. What good are only sports or only music or only one thing? His children will be missing out if they don't gain this balance (not that it's only sports and music either! just as an example).

Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939449 08/08/12 03:32 PM
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I would've been tempted to say "I'll bet you didn't see the value of investing in Microsoft 35 years ago either.". I don't know about you, but I didn't always see the value in my own lessons as a kid. Many's the day when I would rather have been outside playing ball.

But my mother saw the value. Sometimes it takes a mom to shape the world, right?

Some people just live for the bottom line on the paycheck every two weeks. Anything that doesn't contribute to their bottom line has no value. Sounds like your neighbor.

But aren't we all glad we live in a world where the bottom line is not the bottom line! What if the story of your neighbors could have a different ending? What if 40 years from now a person stands and says "My dad couldn't see the value in it. And as a family we probably couldn't afford it. But there was this kind, wise piano teacher who lived next door. And that teacher made all the difference in who I am today.".

Whether you teach the next door neighbor kids or not, go out and be a world-changer for someone today. End of sermon. Pass the offering plate.


Hugh Poland
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Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
Jonathan Alford #1939610 08/08/12 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Alford
I think this is a wonderful opportunity to explain why piano (or really any music) lessons are important to children.

Jonathan


Or, alternatively, you could have him shot.


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Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939613 08/08/12 10:06 PM
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I'd concentrate on the wife. Maybe pass her some articles on how music makes kids smarter. Though of course there's the possibility he'd realize that then his kids would get smarter than he is...


Please step aside. You're standing in your own way.
Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939631 08/08/12 10:43 PM
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I would rather not teach my neighbors' kids. If/when the children stop lessons, or you get into a dispute regarding lessons, your neighborly relationship may suffer. Best to separate home and work.

Last edited by pianoeagle; 08/08/12 10:45 PM.

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Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939675 08/09/12 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by piano_teacher29

"Oh, my wife thinks she can play piano or whatever and probably wants to get the kids involved in that, but I don't see the value in piano lessons."

What I would have said, and I promise you these would have been my exact words:

Me: "Oh, what do YOU do for a living?"
Idiot: "I am a___/ I do____"
Me: "Well, I don't see any value in what you do either. Gee, I hope that makes you feel as good as you just made me feel. Talk to ya later."

Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
Gary D. #1939747 08/09/12 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
What I would have said, and I promise you these would have been my exact words:

Me: "Oh, what do YOU do for a living?"
Idiot: "I am a___/ I do____"
Me: "Well, I don't see any value in what you do either. Gee, I hope that makes you feel as good as you just made me feel. Talk to ya later."




Aa optional approach might be ...

"Well, I am sorry to hear that. However, if you, your wife, or your children would ever like to just try it sometime, I would be happy to provide (free) a few (6 or less) introductory lessons just to see if it is something you might wish to pursue."

And, then I would assure him that this is not a sales pitch as I would not be willing to give them lessons on a regular basis because of my policy of not getting involved teaching close friends, family members, or neighbors.



Don

Casio PX-S1000, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Yamaha MG06 Mixer
Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
dmd #1939783 08/09/12 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by dmd
... I would assure him that this is not a sales pitch as I would not be willing to give them lessons on a regular basis because of my policy of not getting involved teaching close friends, family members, or neighbors...


...especially if they are as ignorant as he is.


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Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1939799 08/09/12 09:07 AM
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The key word in your story (particularly in the vernacular of your neighbor) is "value", as in, "And I see no value in continuing this conversation." But I'm sure he felt better putting you down. sick


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Re: A story about my ignorant neighbor
piano_teacher29 #1940805 08/11/12 10:32 AM
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Response for next time:

"Plato said 'Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.'

In other words, Plato agrees with you that music is useless."

Then see if he gets the humor.

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