Recent Entries

Long live all maidens

easy and beautiful !

Long live mature women also,

Tender and loveable and full of good labor. 

Gaudeamus Igitur

« Don't be jealous! | Main | Week 2 »

Peking Duck

Hi Sarah,

Second week of school and still no sign of starting up. It's taking a while for them to get their act together I guess. Ok with me. More time for all the other things.

Of course $$ is important and I continue to teach privately in the homes of students. That 'phlox' word referred to Candy’s fairy tale home that just bowled me over. Surrounded entirely by phlox. Imagine the fragrance. 

Candy greeted me at the door in her white cotton muslin dress -- all flared and splashed with colourful fruit appliqués. Overeager after the summer's lull we reviewed five-finger warm-ups; arms out like the wings of a bird. Repeat, repeat. Play from the knuckle! Drill is such a huge part of what I do. I’m trying to build up strength in those spindly brown slivers of fingers. She whistled along with her playing, all in pitch. Time flew. I got up (had to make it to choir downtown) and saw my reflection in a mirror patterned after some medieval chapel artefact where a Madonna would have been hidden from view until you opened the wooden doors. Candy took a close look at the tiny metal plaque. Hmm ... this says 1843, she tells me.

The talk at the door always adds minutes to the lesson but you learn a lot about the families. The son goes to the ballet school. He plays a red electric guitar. His stare is intense. Her other children (maybe from a second marriage) study at prestigious institutes in Europe. Canadian school holidays are too long she says.

Ok. So, Peking Duck. That was the pièce de résistance of a thank you dinner hosted at Yin's by the Wang family for my work with their daughter, Marjorie, an excellent student who has completed her final concert levels in the conservatory system, the Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto (ARCT). My family loved it, an experience in true Chinese dining: a slice of duck is placed on a thin round of wrap, then a dab of hoysin sauce, a sliver of green onion and cucumber are added and voila! Just pop it in your mouth. Lots of other dishes too: hollowed out pineapple halves with sweet and sour chicken (not so traditional), taro bowls (edible) of steaming broccoli, pork bits, tofu, and mushrooms. Absolutely mouth watering. Red bean soup, sweet to the taste, with a platter of anti-oxidant, gelatinous miniature hearts for dessert.

Mr. Wang shares my disdain for the three pm crowd that daily occupies the circular school driveway at pick-up time, the vying for parking spots and the risk of being mowed down by aggressive types in armoured SUV's who always seem to win out. He won't have to ever do it again and is thankful his daughter is now going to university. Their praise for twelve years of work with Marjorie and her recent success was lavish. I wish I'd written down what they said.

I didn't realize I’d built up such a relationship with this family. It just evolved. Twelve years and a little girl became a young woman focusing on sciences at university. Will she still play the piano? Perhaps. A bit. Maybe once she’s married and wants to teach her own children. Such a chunk of life that just swam by. Teaching piano does that. It gives me perspective. I think I love it for that reason, seeing what I can add to each girl's life from week to week.

It's all about perspective, right? 

Waiting for your insights. Sunshine again today. What a glorious month this is!


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>