Monday, January 31, 2005

bottom of my resumé

As I mentioned last week, I’m doing a series of posts (Mondays) on work - looking over some of the jobs I’ve had on the way to where I am today (intro to the series is here).

My first job was back in high school as a piano teacher. I say that and pinch myself - because I haven’t played the piano with any seriousness in years. But back in Grade 9, when I was in my musical heyday I got up around six every morning to practice scales, arpeggios, four-note chords, and pieces till they flowed like oil from my hands.

All the hours of practice were fueled by dreams of becoming a professional musician. Trouble was, classical piano training put you on the road to not a lot of options. Besides playing for pleasure - which was hardly a career direction – you could teach, do accompaniment (which I never considered since I was horrible at sight-reading) or become a concert pianist. I set my sights on the latter.

The hard work paid off. When I took my Grade IX Royal Conservatory piano exam I passed with First Class Honors. And my work paid off in another area as well. The fall I began Grade 10 someone who was organizing music lessons for the small town where I grew up had the idea of employing some of us kids. And so I was offered the job of giving piano lessons to beginners on Saturday mornings.

The novelty of being a piano teacher lasted a few weeks and then reality set in. There was not much glamour in spending half-hour segments with little kids who’d rather be playing outside. I found drilling lines and spaces, listening to stumbling renditions of "London Bridge," and nagging about details like following fingering and counting out the rhythm just plain boring.

My dreams of starring on the concert stage were also taking a beating. As I settled in to high school in town, the thought of spending hours alone each day at the piano was suddenly no longer as important as spending time with friends. And it’s hard to be realistic about being a piano performer when your hands respond to nervousness by trembling, and you find playing in front of an audience more of a traumatic ordeal than a pleasure.

As the realization grew that I would never make it as a professional musician and certainly didn’t want to be a piano teacher, my dedication to music waned. But the creative energy I'd channeled into music had begun to find another outlet. I had begun to write. In fact I’d even saved enough money from teaching those lessons to buy a little typewriter!

And how did I use that typewriter? I joined a kids’ writing club (Young Co-Operators Club) sponsored by The Western Producer - and experienced my first taste of publication, under the pseudonym of "Nell" (a name which, by the way, I still use in some of the writing forums of which I’m a member).


Anonymous said...

I see from Scott McClare a Fundamentalist Baptist is a real son of hell who calls himself the Pastor of Urinals or Ransom and loves to make posts at

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