Teaching cello, acupuncture, teaching vs learning

One of the fun things about having students who get more advanced is working on more advanced repertoire with them. One of my high school students brought in the second Borodin String Quartet this evening. Not wanting to spend her whole lesson fingering it for her, I made a copy (of course, my crappy-a$$ printer ate hers, so I gave her the copy and kept the munched one – I really have to get a better printer!) to finger this week. She’ll finger hers and we’ll compare notes at her next lesson so we can talk about the whys and wherefores of the art of fingering. I love the Borodin, so having a chance to play it and think about it, and work even a bit on the melodies is making me happy. Thus, I am taking a break to write this post and then am going to go downstairs to do the second movement tonight. I am fortunate not to have any of the repertoire for my next two concerts yet, or else I’d be feeling a conflict of interest. That will start on Thursday, so I can spend tonight and tomorrow working on the Borodin and my own string quartet music (Schubert this week) before I have to moderate and diversify my practice session content.

I had an acupuncture session today. We’re going to work on evening out my cycle, which has become erratic. Also, in the parlance of that world, she thinks I have a blood deficiency, need to eat more green veggies and some red meat twice a week. On the other hand, my sleep and the arm that was giving me trouble have both improved dramatically in a few weeks time, both of which are wonderful developments.

I have been continuing to think about my new developing mantra: “Not everything needs to be fixed.” I allowed it to seep into my mind and heart at the beginning of my first lesson this evening, with the result that I felt more patience, allowed more time for my student (who’s a kid) to process and take responsibility for his own actions. I was more relaxed, and I think was therefore more able to be centered and to teach better. I want to continue to make space for that in my spirit as I teach and parent. Of course, it will immediately be tested as the universe throws challenges and counter-examples my way (as always seems to happen), but that’s ok. I don’t have to fix that either.

There is a difference between a learning moment and a teachable one. The latter is not always organic, but instead arises from habit and the need to control.

I say often, sometimes with gratitude and sometimes with irritation, sometimes softly and sometimes laced with snark, “Thank you, universe, for this opportunity to learn.” I say it even more often now that I have children. But I am glad to be learning, even if it sometimes feels like such a terribly enormous stretch.


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