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« Aunts, Dutch Women, and School Girls | Main | The Great Themes »

What is this buzz?

Hi Sarah,

Now that I'm back in the swing of things I'm amazed at how one week can fly. I’m sitting at my computer with a hot chocolate to keep me warm. Only last week the bees were buzzing around my mint tea on the patio. I'm bursting to tell you my week's observations as each year the changes seem imperceptible but are so definitive.

What I see outside the school:

So spiky hair is in for women over 50 and if you use your mp3 player when you're speed walking you are A-ok. Dog walkers with Lhasa Apsos, Chow Chows, Shih Tzus, Siberian Huskies.  Breeders must be busy.

What I see inside the school:

Teachers as well as parents wear leggings and knee length woollen sweater coats. Saw a pair of bright blue lace tights yesterday on a mother picking up her child at 3:30. Visual overload: Crazy Sports Day featured gold lamé pants, cerise lamé tights, capes, fake ears, red circles painted on cheeks. Parents sat on midget chairs in the JK room for after school mini interviews: mommies with blond hair tied back, daddies in pinstriped suits.

I now have a ten-year-old prodigy who studied previously with a teacher from Shanghai. She oozes musicality. Everyone came to the studio with crisp new piano books, ready for the task. I launched right in with the RCM’s daunting, new technical requirements (after their recent overhaul we should be on a par with our European and Asian counterparts) and went full speed ahead with few breaks in my day. Needed Black China tea (my favourite) by 2 pm to re-energize. All day I was soothed or not soothed by Gluck's Dance of the Blessed Spirits among other popular classical hits, coming from the flute studio, or Chopin's Etude Op. 10 no.3, for piano, from yet another room. Its crashing diminished sevenths filled the spaces of the long music corridor, and resounded throughout the entire school. 

Franca, my Grade 9 student, has taken to playing Bach like a duck takes to water. She brought a slice of chocolate banana loaf (made by her nanny) to her lesson for me. We just might have a few near geniuses this year. My task is to be a constant motivator, to remain fresh in my approach at all times, incorporate humour and ... to produce. I can do all of the above. There is only the unavoidable side effect of a buzzy head at the end of the day. Worth it to me.

I cannot comprehend the whole nursing home scenario of which you wrote. How that happens to smart, fashionable ladies like your aunts. I sound arrogant if I spout off about the should have's and could have's. They are, simply, at that point in their lives. Don't think that I'm not obsessed with these facts myself. Even as I balance on the Bosu ball at the gym I secretly hope to arm myself with anti-falling techniques for the future. My mother-in-law is patiently waiting for a new hip these days. Talking on the telephone with her I ask, so what are you doing? Oh swingin' back and forth she says (of herself in her rocker by the phone). Little else to do. 

Candy of phlox house chatters too much, reams of words without censure. Focuses totally on her piano pieces though. Ariana spouts technicalities about her newly fitted braces: she grins for me so I can see each tooth graced with a shiny turquoise brilliant.  Lots of hugs this first week: kids bolting down the halls doing a running leap into my arms. I now know for a fact that I am The Familiar Piano Teacher at my school.

By the way, some of our nudes exhibit has been replaced with excellent multi media art, equally fascinating, some Dali-like, some more Goth. It should be educational for me to visit Franklin and see the "real thing" as you say. We'll make arrangements tomorrow.


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