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Cute Story About Teaching
Cute story - Probably not true but cute just the same. About teaching (kind of) ;-)
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (5 votes) 
Fort Lauderdale
April 19, 2014 - 3:25 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16250

Someone shared this story with me by email which I found to be quite touching. I don't really believe it 100% but I liked it just the same.

This is a true story and it will give you the chills.
This is a beautiful and touching story of love and perseverance. 
Well worth the read.

At the prodding of my friends I am writing this story. My name is Mildred Honor and I am a former elementary school music teacher from Des Moines, Iowa.

I have always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons -something I have done for over 30 years.

During those years I found that children have many levels of musical ability, and even though I have never had the pleasure of having a prodigy, I have taught some very talented                students.

However, I  have also had my share of what I call 'musically challenged'pupils - one such pupil being  Robby..

Robby was 11 years old when his mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson. I prefer that students (especially boys) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby. But Robby said that it had always been his mother's dream to hear him play the piano, so I took him as a student.

Well, Robby began his piano lessons and from the beginning I thought it was a hopeless endeavor. As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel. But he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary piano pieces that I require all my students to learn. Over the months he tried and tried while I listened and cringed and tried to encourage him.

At the end of each weekly lesson he would always say 'My mom's going to hear me play someday'. But to me, it seemed hopeless, he just did not have any inborn ability.

I only knew his mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled, but never dropped in.

Then one  day Robby stopped coming for his lessons. I thought about calling him, but assumed that because of his lack of ability he had decided to pursue something else. I was also glad that he had stopped coming - he was a bad advertisement for my teaching!

Several weeks later I mailed a flyer recital to the students' homes. To my surprise, Robby (who had received a flyer) asked me if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and that because he had dropped out, he really did not qualify.

He told me that his mother had been sick and unable to take him to his piano lessons, but that he had been practicing. 'Please Miss Honor, I've just got to play' he insisted. I don't know what led me to allow him to play in the recital - perhaps it was his insistence or maybe something inside of me saying that it would be all right.

The night of the recital came and the high school gymnasium was packed with  parents, relatives and friends. I put Robby last in the program,  just before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he might do would come at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor  performance through my 'curtain closer'.

Well, the recital went off without a hitch, the students had been practicing and it showed. Then Robby came up on the stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked as though he had run an egg beater through it. 'Why wasn't he dressed up like the other students?' I thought. 'Why didn't his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?'

Robby pulled out the piano bench, and I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen to play Mozart's Concerto No. 21 in C Major. I was not prepared for what I heard next. His fingers were light on  the keys, they even danced nimbly on the ivories. He went from pianissimo to fortissimo, from allegro to virtuoso; his suspended  chords that Mozart demands were magnificent!

Never had I heard Mozart played so well by anyone his age.

After six and a half minutes he ended in a grand crescendo, and everyone was on their feet in wild applause! Overcome and in tears, I ran up onstage and put my arms around Robby in joy. 'I have never heard you play like that Robby, how did you do it?

Through the microphone Robby explained: 'Well, Miss Honor ..... remember I told you that my mom was sick? Well, she actually had cancer and passed away this morning. And well ...... she was born deaf, so tonight was the first time she had ever heard me play, and I  wanted to make it special.'

There wasn't a dry eye in the house that evening. As the people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed in to foster care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy. I thought to myself then how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil.

No, I have  never had a prodigy, but that night I became a prodigy ....... of Robby. He was the teacher and I was the pupil, for he had taught me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself,  and may be even taking a chance on someone and you didn't know why.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."


April 19, 2014 - 9:45 pm
Member Since: January 14, 2013
Forum Posts: 888
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That was a beautiful story. With a tear in my eye, I am out of here for the night. I'm gonna just lay down and just dream and let the music in my head flow. That was a beautiful story.

Fort Lauderdale
April 19, 2014 - 10:03 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16250

Glad that you liked it :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Colorado, USA

April 19, 2014 - 11:34 pm
Member Since: November 22, 2012
Forum Posts: 342
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What a wonderful story.smile
It definitely made me teary, and I love the inspiring message it sends.

"Music is what feelings sound like." ~ Author Unknown


Tuticorin, India

Honorary advisor

April 20, 2014 - 5:23 am
Member Since: August 22, 2011
Forum Posts: 485
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These things happen only in movies. I don't believe this. Probably your email did not have the last paragraph which is contained in the link downunder..

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it ..(William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night)

Fort Lauderdale
April 20, 2014 - 11:43 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16250

suresh said

These things happen only in movies. I don't believe this. Probably your email did not have the last paragraph which is contained in the link downunder..

Suresh, my email had that last paragraph but I censored it. exactly
I actually don't believe it either which is why I wrote that description the way I did. However, it gives us something to think about and makes for a great story just the same...... It's about making music, believing in yourself and others.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."


April 20, 2014 - 4:34 pm
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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Well, I would say the story is most likely fiction. Too many elements in it that do not support it actually being a factual account. Some of the use of terminology would not be consistent with the writer actually being a music teacher, for example. I liked the story, though it is obviously a bit of a "tear-jerker".

But.. We can consider that just maybe the point of the writing was not to inform the reader of facts, but to convey an idea, perhaps? Then the intent would not be so much to mislead as to perhaps inspire or to get musicians to think a bit.

Aesop's fables, for example, are not true in the literal sense. But they convey ideas about how one might think and act, and what results might come of those actions or how one may be thought of by others.

I can't know what the writer intended as a message for certain, only what meaning I can draw from the story myself.

Examining the points of the story, "Robby" obviously did not get a lot of sincere encouragement from the teacher. He did do at least his basic work, but his progress was not what might be called "gifted" (and his playing tended to make his teacher cringe). The story emphasizes that he had economic disadvantages, and this does not seem to be a story about some great antique instrument that made the difference. He only played well at the recital after not showing up for lessons for several weeks, I think we can safely assume that this is not a story about the difference that the dedication of a great teacher can make.

Since he only played well at the recital, and his stated reason for having to play was so his recently deceased mother could hear him seems to be the key point to me. Sidestepping for a moment the issues of whether the deceased can hear anyone play or whether death removes disabilities like deafness, it is a lovely enough notion.

As Suresh mentioned, this sort of "success story" is far more likely in a movie or something than it is in real life. I would agree. But that doesn't make it any worse than many holiday stories or "chicken soup for the ____ soul" type stories.

It is certainly not impossible to play for others, or play for the memory of people we cared about who are gone now. I mean, haven't you ever played to try and cheer someone who wasn't feeling well? Don't you play to entertain or at least amuse family and friends?

Music is a form of communication, a way we can convey feelings that may be hard to put into words. A way to share joys, sorrows.. I do have to remind myself sometimes that it is not enough to make no mistakes when playing. When I play, I should be saying something. It should carry an emotion or idea or .. something.

I can't think that it is uncommon to play in memory of family, friends, teachers, and etc who are no longer in this world. I do that. Some of the songs I play are in my repertoire only because they remind me of someone I have lost over the years or sometimes a song or piece that I think they would have enjoyed. And while I play those, I do let myself believe that perhaps they can hear it in some way, somehow.

Anyway, from what I gather, Pierre didn't put the story up for the purposes of determining it's factual validity. I would agree, it is a great little story.

Did anyone else have to pick up their instrument and play a bit after reading it? I did. Factual or not, it can still inspire.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Michigan, USA


April 20, 2014 - 6:02 pm
Member Since: January 21, 2012
Forum Posts: 2647
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Who cares. True or not, it's a heart warming tear jerking story.


Fort Lauderdale
April 20, 2014 - 6:42 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16250

Nice hearing all of your thoughts.
I wasn't sure whether or not to share for the same reasons you guys are doubting it's authenticity but I enjoyed reading it while thinking the whole time that it was a fake story. :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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