First memories of Teaching
Believe it or not, I actually did a little teaching when in high school. I boarded with other blind people during the week during the last few years of high school. While there, I met someone who was to have a huge impact on my life. Sister Jean. I’m not even sure if she is still alive now, but she was a real help to me and someone I looked up too.
It was a strange beginning. Sister Jean overheard me in my bedroom one day, singing an area of all things; She asked me to sing it for her, which I did. She then asked me about singing it at her concert several months later. I said no, as I was too scared to do it. But with a lot of encouragement, I decided to give it a go. She also heard me play the piano and said to perform a movement from a Haydn sonata as well.
Then I began to help other people who did piano practice at the time. We had not only blind people, but some had autism as well. I used to help this person practice, by giving him step by step instructions, playing the pieces and showing him how to play it. Same with his technique; I would stop him at the point of mistakes and slowly help him learn the exercises.
I also helped another pianist but they required a different tact. With them, I noticed they did better after talking me through the process of the piece. This person also sang, and I used to record the warmups that I read from braille music. We were a group of about 8 singers in the end, and we sang in 3 part harmony. How I discovered that is for another post, but we took our singing to a few festivals and had a ball!
Sister Jean also helped me during a time of musical distress. After discovering in year 12 the huge chunks of the score I wasn’t hearing, a few months later I went to Sister Jean. I was really distressed at the time, grieving for something I would never have, thinking my musical life was over for good. I went to one of the only people I thought I could. She sat me down and told me I was going to make it. She helped me learn to read an open score and lots of other things.
I have such strong memories of music in that place and it has still stayed with me years later.