Saturday is my busiest day – I teach private piano lessons all morning, then have a little free time, then it’s off to rehearsal for the City of Torrance production of “Annie.” After that, I go to rehearsal for the worship team, then get home between 8 and 9pm.
This morning, all my private students cancelled – normal holiday season busy stuff. That is, all my students cancelled except for one of them – the little boy with autism.
Somehow, when his mom (a single mom) contacted me a few months ago to start piano lessons, she neglected to bring up the autism thing over the phone. So I set up a day and time to start, and then on that first meeting with him, the mom said, “By the way, my son has mild autism. I hope that’s not a problem.”
Well, it’s not really a problem – but it does make the goals of piano teaching a little different for this little guy. He’s a cool kid – very talkative, very friendly, and loves the piano – but there’s just a learning disconnect that’s kind of hard to break through. For him, the goal isn’t to move him through the book quickly; the goal is to make sure he remembers the names of five notes, and approximately where to put his hands. Each time we meet, it’s almost as though we start all over again.
To make it more interesting, his family doesn’t have a keyboard or piano at home; I get the impression that’s not something they can afford right now. So practicing is out of the question. I don’t anticipate him improving all that quickly.
But he really loves the piano. Maybe that’s all that matters. He’s just spending time once a week, doing something he really loves. And I think that must make his mom happy.