For years my husband David and I have thought our son seemed to be musically inclined. Theo loves listening music and dancing, he remembers the lyrics to songs much better than we ever do, and has even recently tried to compose his own songs. A few years ago we invested in an electronic piano and hired a piano teacher to teach him at our home. His teacher composed the music for the Lego Ninjago series, which was Theo’s favorite tv show back then and while he thoroughly enjoyed these classes and learned about mood and tone in music (he even performed a very mellow abstract composition of his own at the school talent show that year!), he didn’t seem to be mastering the basics of piano. Nor was he practicing, so we ended the classes. Now, two years on, we have found another teacher, and things seem to be changing.
We met Bella at Theo’s songwriting camp at the start of summer and Theo already seemed to have a great rapport with her. She helped him write his parody of Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and performed it with him on the last day of camp. We liked her energy and when she explained how she teaches music to kids, we got the sense that she has the structure Theo needs in order to really learn music. She also seems to have the experience with kids to know what motivates them and the patience to deal with their moods and confidence swings. So we asked Bella to come to our house and teach Theo once a week. In the three weeks that he has been learning with her, we’ve noticed a big change in his attitude. It may be his age, his confidence or her structured yet compassionate teaching style, but Theo is practicing every day and on some days the house is filled with lovely music tinkling from his keyboard, like Ode to Joy or his version of the beautiful song “Falling Softly” from the film Once. For the first time, I have had to ask Theo to stop practicing so that he can do other things – and that’s a refreshing change from telling him to stop playing video games.
Today Theo had a class with Bella and it went well. He is learning to read music, grasping music theory and seems keen to push himself, even though he still gets frustrated when he can’t get a tune right first time. Bella, with her sunny personality, her knowledge of music and child psychology, seems to have entered our lives at just the right moment, when Theo is finally ready to push himself a little harder and fulfill what we suspect might be his true potential. As she gathered her books together to leave for her next class, I asked her if she uses CDs (she is a fair bit younger than us!). When she said she listens to them in her car, I gave her a CD of David Helfgott playing Rachmaninov. Lovely music for a drive along the Coast perhaps. And who knows, thanks to Bella, maybe we’ll be hearing such melodies wafting through our home one day…
3 thoughts on “July 15, 2015”
Nice story. You are such good parents to keep searching till something works. Their will be ever grateful when he grows up.
Thanks, Cheryl. We’re also stubborn parents sometimes!
This is why we teach. Fortunately, every once in a while we get to see that it is making a difference in someones life. Hopefully, it happens more often than we realize.