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Destined Piano Instructor

My Life Paved The Way To Be A Teacher

By Stina JourneyPublished about a year ago 6 min read
Top Story - January 2023
Having an online lesson

Have you ever ran away from life’s destined path? Wondered why something keeps coming back over and over again? This has happened to me and why I ended up with this career today.

It all started off with when I was probably in 1st grade. I was introduced the Jaw’s Theme Song on the piano by one of my teachers. She had a piano in her room and I was interested in being over there at the piano. No idea why. I just wanted to.

Another case happen when I was young. Probably around that age. I had a teacher who played piano during class and we were all singing with her. My eyes were glued to her hands playing the piano. I didn’t care about singing. But again, I was young and didn’t realize what was happening.

As I got older, probably before middle school, I was given the option to ditch guitar lessons and take piano lessons. I quickly said piano. No hesitation. Piano was provided and my mother paid for the lessons. I believe this was the moment my life changed and I still didn’t realize it.

Fast forward to start of lessons. I was only learning chords and scales. There were no books to look at, no paper to view. It was all the teacher showing me and verbally telling me what to do. I had zero idea what was happening but I tried to keep up and form some kind of logical sense to this.

Fast forward. My mother bought different books from the book store. She shared them to my teacher and we used it to play some of the songs. Songs I didn’t really care for but went with it. I learned how to read music. I taught myself how to read the bass notes. But that was because I refused for the longest time and realized I needed to learn quick.

Remember those songs I mentioned? Same songs over and over and over again. Think about paying for the same exact lesson month after month. No improvement. Nothing new. My learning became stagnant. It was boring. Nothing new happened. I memorized the songs. I memorized how my fingers were suppose to move for each song. I quickly grew out of wanting to learn any more. I didn’t even encourage myself to seek my own learning outside the lessons.

The piano didn’t get played. Lessons soon died. This was high school. Roughest moment of my life. I had no interest. I didn’t practice. I didn’t care to. I was set on becoming a veterinarian. Going to school for a science degree all because I had expectations from a certain family member.

Fast forward to second year of college. I was failing science and math. Who knew? Great at it in high school and horrible in college. Again, I was oblivious to what life was leading me to. I was set on being a veterinarian, I avoided all the signs life gave me. I was failing at the life I wanted for myself.

I always hung out at the music building in college. One day, a friend of mine who studied in music encouraged me to think about my options. Showed me what she was seeing. I was always in the music building. The pianos were like magnets. I was hooked but never knew I was. She said,

“You’re always in the music building. You know how to play piano. Why not switch majors?”

What? Switch majors? Going from science to arts? Unheard of. No way. But, that’s exactly what I did. Life was literally telling me what to do and I finally listened. I changed majors. I had a lot of catching up to do but I did it. I made straight A’s in all my theory classes. Can’t say the same for sight reading and ear training.

Music classes opened up my brain, my thoughts to a whole new world. I was finally seeing something for the first time and went full force into it. Everything made sense. Everything I was taught there, I grasped on to it and never let it go. I had so much fun learning and being with like-minded individuals. Friends. Memories I will treasure forever.

But, once again. I had a new piano teacher in college. This teacher was not my favorite. He encouraged me but not in the sense I can hold onto and feel encouraged. I emailed him a few times saying I cannot make it to lessons. His way of teaching was something that discouraged me to learn to play piano. Sometimes it would get a bit physical and he would grab my hand and put it in place. Not so much teaching me how to sight read and different technique skills. Need I remind you, I taught myself the bass notes and I had zero training in technique skills.

I was back to only thinking about passing college. That was it. Piano lessons were not exciting. But then, light came through. The teacher retired and I was given my last ever piano teacher. He was absolutely amazing in every single way. He opened up doors and thoughts and ways of learning I never dreamed of. He encouraged me and my closest friends. He helped me to sight read and taught me the technique skills I lacked in. Life in the music building was life in the music building. I only left when I had to go to bed.

My teacher opened up a whole new class. A class that never existed before. Pedagogy. I took it not thinking anything of it. My two closest friends took it. It was a credited class and that was it. We had so much fun learning. But, I didn’t realize this was the other critical door that opened up for me. I learned so much on what not to say to little kids like,

“Think of this piece like a tsunami about to attack your family and home.”

I learned everything about all the things I didn’t learn growing up. Books specifically for learning how to play. I thought it was just song books from the book store. No, these were actual teaching books that taught everything little by little with pieces that helped you learn and grow more and more. He chose a series I still stand strong in teaching out of today. No other series I teach out of but this one.

Fast forward to after college. I’m trying to get a job. Book store opened up and offered me a job. Then, two teaching jobs opened up. I made it my mission to only have my teaching jobs as a side hustle. Nothing more. It wasn’t ever going to be my main income. Bookstore closes…

Life once again grabs ahold of my destined path. I now have to request more students from my managers who hired me. Not much has opened up but I was able to make enough. Grabbed another teaching job. Now, working at 3 different places collecting more students. Still not enough to make any real income.

I felt a little upset because I have this huge debt of student loans and I’m getting paid less than my sister working at a grocery store. Sure, getting paid more my the hour but I’m only getting paid IF I teach a student. That was too few.

About 5 years pass by. I move across the country to a place where jobs are scarce. I go ahead and apply everywhere. I found a teaching job and didn’t think anything of it. And they called me back quick. We set up an interview and I was hired just like that. A place where jobs are so hard to come by, LIFE took care of me and set me on my path to success.

I knew taking this job was going to be the only job available. But, what I didn’t know, it was the start to a perfect career. My job site is absolutely the best. Only one place to work and I am filled up with students. Everyone here wants to take lessons and by me. Not to sound like I am one of a kind but I take my job seriously.

I grew up learning piano and not the correct way. I don’t wish that upon any student. It’s my mission to make sure they learn and they learn correctly. I am where I need to be financially now. I have accepted what life has to offer me. I am happy where I am at in my career and it is all because my mom gave me that option to learn a new skill. A new instrument. An instrument that was there in my life since 1st grade.

Whatever it is life is giving you, take it. Use it. Learn it. Educate people and give them a chance. You never know what that seed will do when you plant it. Life will always lead you where you need to go no matter how much you refuse or wrestle.


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Comments (7)

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  • Joelle E🌙about a year ago

    Wow, thank you for sharing your journey. Great perspective and just what I needed to hear 👏🏼

  • Vivek Sagarabout a year ago

    Wow your story motivated me so much ⭐🤩 It Deserve to be on the Top 👏 Well I'm new on vocal can you please Check out and give some opinion on my story It will be really helpful. 😇 Here is the link:-

  • Weblight007about a year ago

    Your Story made me reflect deeply.I know deep down I loved reading when I was growing up.I loved stories.I loved writing.All that I wanted was to go to a Creative Writing School but I ended up at University doing Courses I hated.I ended up working as a teacher and it bored me to tears.I will never force my kids to do anything they don't like!

  • Tina D'Angeloabout a year ago

    There is no right way to learn music. It comes from inside of you and eventually, it will find its way out of your fingers! The best teachers are those who have had hurdles in their own learning experience. Great job!

  • Stephanie J. Bradberryabout a year ago

    I can totally relate. I never thought I would end up in academia. Did I excel in school, sure. But there was a difference between what I wanted to be and what others told me I should (of course none of them footing the bill for my schooling). Then I finally said what profession will enable me to help the most people. The answer was teaching, but that was never on my "I want to be" list. The next question was subject. After switching majors three times in undergrad, I ended up with English. Why? I loved reading. But I decided to teach English because I never wanted anyone to have my experience with not knowing how to technically write and to make the learning and process as straightforward as possible.

  • Liviu Romanabout a year ago

    Your story was truly inspiring, and I'm grateful to you for sharing it with all of us. Your writing really struck a chord with me, and I'm excited to see what else you have in store for us in the future.

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