"You mean MOST cars eat gas," Mary said, correcting me gently.
I'd been up to my old piano teacher tricks. All Cars Eat Gas. Except that now they don't. Mary's family not only has a Prius hybrid, they also have a all-electric Leaf.
Just last week I'd been writing about the sexism of Every Good Boy Deserving Fudge. I now prefer Empty Garbage Before Dad Freaks.
The cars not eating gas problem threw me for a loop. Certainly, we can resort to Cows Eating Grass. But I'm not sure that's a rich metaphor for a Prius/Leaf owning city girl like Mary. Going back in time doesn't solve that one.
In these moments I feel silly. Simple mnemonics can be helpful to lots of students. I find that one or two of them stick and the rest don't. For me personally, I remembered FACE and the fact that the middle line of of treble clef was a B. (Thanks again, Junior High Band.)
When the fuddy-duddyness of piano teaching hits me in the face like this I use the shock to wake myself up. What does this teach me? Are we are relying on ancient technology to teach concepts? That "dancing a minuet" may not be the most relevant experience to a seven-year-old in the 21st century?
I wish I had all the answers. I'll bet the solutions lie in the music itself. Music speaks to our souls. It speaks to the souls of children, teenagers and adults. It speaks to all people in all situations. It always has. It always will.
Cows may give way to cars which may give way to who knows what. I'm open to suggestions.
I know one thing.
The music will be there moving the spirits of little kids who milk cows or drive gas-guzzling cars or electric vehicles. The ways we learn about it will change. The instruments we play will change.
The music will speak to our hearts forever.
I was reminded this week of the Bridge to Forever, a piece I wrote for my student David, in honor of his father who had passed away one year before. It might be a helpful piece to teach a student who was experiencing feelings about the events of the past weeks.