An old photo of me playing the piano.
Music
An old photo of me playing the piano.

I Had an Evil Piano Teacher, But Her Methods Turned Me Into a Pianist

As a young girl, my mother was insistent that I take piano lessons. She was a terrific pianist but she claimed she didn't have the patience to teach me herself. So she hired the devil instead.
Ms. Petrov was not actually the devil. She was a very small and very angry Russian woman who gave lessons to half the kids in the neighborhood. Most of the kids gave it up after one lesson, but the kids who stuck with it were good. Really good. Maybe there was something to her teaching methods after all. 
In our first lesson together, Ms. Petrov told me I had the perfect hands for piano. Long fingers and strong knuckles. This may have been the only compliment she ever gave me.
Every mistake I made, she would rap my knuckles with a small wooden ruler. I was convinced this was child abuse but my mother said she was a traditionalist and I should toughen up.
Well I can't say we ever warmed up to each other, but Ms. Petrov was my teacher for seven years. I was so scared to disappoint her that I would practice diligently every day. Practice really does make perfect. I became a better piano player than my mother. I went to a musical conservatory for college and now I teach piano.
 I have to hand it to Ms. Petrov - fear was a pretty good tactic for establishing a habit of practicing. I prefer a gentler approach with my students, but it's not quite as effective!
Playing classical music on a grand piano.
Playing classical music on a grand piano.
A young student of mine performing at a piano recital.
A young student of mine performing at a piano recital.
“Practice really does make perfect. ”
A metronome to get you started.
A metronome to get you started.
Teaching a piano student how to read sheet music.
Teaching a piano student how to read sheet music.
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