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A Hedonistic Hedgehog

Hi Sarah,


Now I think I understand why Beatrice Potter was so good at creating her special world of garden variety critters - because she was able to put herself there: sleeping under the hedge, feasting on carrots in the middle of a cabbage patch or stretching out between the endless rows of corn. This afternoon I felt like a hedgehog, sitting on my stone steps in a maze of greenery on St. Hildegarde's grounds surrounded by privet, bleeding hearts and Korean boxwood (it has a smell that never fails to trigger my childhood adventures). At about 1 pm I began to envision myself sitting there with Tony Parson's Man and Boy. Not sure why I felt like a hedgehog but it may have something to do with not wanting anyone to be able to invade my space.  I soaked up that sun like a hedonist. I'm getting greedy at this point in time.

Yesterday I had a truly trying session with a particular student, one of many, who unfortunately balks at reading notes. Miraculously she has somehow arrived at that level of study that most ambitious students strive for: to get their grade eight piano as well as their grade two theory, which together, count for a grade twelve credit according to the RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music) and the Board of Education. In fostering good sight-reading habits, I train students to see groups of notes and how they relate to one another with steps, skips, chord formations and patterns. Brianna has become pretty expert at taking a wild stab at which key she should be playing in and is often not far off the mark. Uncanny. Very gifted at memorizing entire sequences and then recalling them sort of kinaesthetically after several repetitions. It's a bit like finger painting where the finished product reveals itself in little bits. I physically demonstrate entire phrases on the keyboard and have the student imitate ten, twenty or however many times it takes, to get a few bars down correctly. And yet, she has this certain flair. Yes, Brianna can actually make the music sound alive. These sessions often tend to drain me, and thus the hedgehog visualization as I proceed through the lesson. Both Franca and Candy continue to be a delight and make my day every single time. They all make my day, really!

 Sorry I didn't get to speak to you, being late for F.'s class and then I had to leave early too. Catherine needed the car. How did things go? I don't think I missed much. What a crazy exercise, introducing swear words and not being afraid to use them in our writing. I had to bite my lip listening to Sherry, you know, the one on your left who wears the huge red glasses, with her damns and fucks and bastards in run-on sentences. That stuff's really hard to teach, eh? There must be a knack to it, eh? It's got to flow naturally.

Will send you what I didn't get to read yesterday. Where's yours? Our turn next time. I'm waiting for more Women of the Morning.


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