A Man’s Reach Must Exceed His Grasp

If I had to put this Shakespearean reference in terms of my business, I would say that my grasp is my local area, my current and former students, and those people with whom I interact on a regular basis. Imagine my surprise when, one Friday a few weeks ago, my telephone rang, and the person on the other end was calling from another country thousands of miles away. It turned out that he had posted a question online about taking up piano as an adult some while back, and I answered in a way that he found encouraging. I found it immensely gratifying (and astonishing) that he took the trouble to track me down and thank me, as I almost never receive feedback.

Music Teacher Friedrich Wieck Shouts at Robert Schumann While His Daughter, Clara Wieck, Looks On

And the truth is, especially as teachers, we never know how far our words or actions will reach. I remember being told in third grade that I didn’t have any talent for piano, and I truly believed that well into my adult life. So, if you are working with a teacher that is not helpful to you, it is time to take another look at your relationship with your teacher. A good music teacher will help you find your own niche and learn to develop it–something that will make you stand out from other musicians. She or he should also help you strengthen your weaknesses and learn to take advantage of your strengths. If your teacher is not doing these things, ask yourself why you are paying for your music lessons. And then look around, and find a teacher that will.

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