adventures in trumpet lessons

Yesterday afternoon, I had my 7th of 9 trumpet lessons booked and paid for with my current instructor. I had really been looking forward to taking lessons again. I found an instructor who assured me he could teach on a high level, as my degree is in music. I was excited about finding someone who could give me the push and the motivation I need to work hard and get good again.

Since lesson number 2, I have been counting down until I can stop lessons. At least with this teacher. Bad sign number one should have been the fact that he didn't bring his trumpet to the first lesson. That goes against my entire teaching philosophy. But, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, as it was an introductory lesson. I asked him to bring his trumpet to lessons, and he agreed.

Bad sign number two should have been that he spent about half of the introductory lesson talking about himself. Again, I let it go. I chose to believe that he was trying to give me his qualifications as my teacher, so that I would agree to hire him, and assumed that wouldn't happen again. He seemed like he knew his stuff, and I really wanted a teacher, so I signed up for 8 lessons after the introductory lesson. Paid for and scheduled.

At the second lesson, he didn't bring his trumpet. I immediately confronted him, and he made some excuse about how he brought his mouthpiece in case he wanted to show me something, he figured he could use my trumpet. I told him that was all well and good, but we can't both play my trumpet at the same time. Asked him again to bring his trumpet to the next lesson. Which he did, and has been doing since.

However, he hasn't stopped the talking. He wants to chat, mainly about music-related things, but still, annoying and irrelevant to the lessons. Things like what he played in his senior recital in college about 40 years ago (every week he talks about this) and what his other students are doing (all of them kids, most of them on other instruments) and how if I ever want help with the keyboard he also plays piano (there is a keyboard in my spare room, where we have the lessons).

When we do get around to the actual, you know, LESSON, it consists mostly of me/us playing something, him analyzing each dynamic and explaining it to me, and then I/we play it again. I am honestly sick to death of paying $75 per hour for someone to explain to me what it means to play forte and then play mezzo-piano (there should be a difference? WHO KNEW?).

The only time we can focus and get some worthwhile work done is when I take charge and tell him what we're going to work on. And to top it all off, he's not much better than I am right now. Except for range. Which, let's be honest, my range was never my strong point even when I was really good. So it's not very difficult to have a better range than I do. Having said that, I don't necessarily believe that you can't teach someone to be better if you aren't better than they are. Some people are just good teachers that way. Just not this guy.

So do you get why I'm so frustrated about my lessons?

I haven't even told you the worst part yet. After the 5th lesson, he was leaving my apartment (he travels and comes to my house to teach -- not uncommon for music teachers) and he leaned over as if to kiss me on the cheek. Yes. You heard that right. I do not know this guy. That is NOT OKAY. I instinctively bent over so far back at the waist to get away from him that I very nearly fell right over onto the floor. It totally freaked me out. I do not think it was anything untoward, I am pretty sure he's harmless (I THINK). It's the kind of thing good friends do in this area, they kiss each other's cheeks when they meet up. BUT HOLY CRAP THAT IS NOT OKAY.

So, the following week, when I opened the door for him to leave, I quite literally hid behind it to get away from him. Apparently his acceptable substitute was to touch my arm inappropriately and say "Take care, sweetie. Have a good week." BLEECCCCCHHHH I don't know you get out of my house.

This week, I faked him out. I let him follow right behind me to my front door, opened it, and immediately backed away about 5 feet. This left him in the doorway and me far away. I said bye and he left. Now I have my tactic for the next two weeks until I can be rid of him.

I was going to transition from this story into what's GOOD about me and music right now, because there is plenty of that. But I seem to have gotten a little carried away (can you tell this is bothering me?) and this is extraordinarily long. So I'll end this for now and we'll talk about last week's concert tomorrow.

Also coming this week -- pictures of the pumpkins we carved last night. Four of them! I love carving pumpkins!

Happy birthday, M!


maresi said...

Maria says Happy Birthday!! to her godfather!

And yes, that behavior is ridiculously gross. Ew. can't you just say to him, hey you skeevy weirdo, forget coming back! I don't think it would be a waste of money to NOT have to put up with another lousy lesson from a louse.

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