I was 6 years old when one day my parents seemed so keen to make me play an instrument. They enrolled me in a simple piano. To be honest, I never liked it. The teacher was awfully rude (in my eyes of course) and it felt like I was being compared with other kids. Actually, she wasn’t that bad of a person, but to me she was terrifying. It was her teaching methods that didn’t work for me. After some time, I got used to the way she taught me, but never really thought that I learned anything.

After about 9 months we moved to a different part of town, we were new to the neighborhood and my parents had already started to look for more options for after school classes. Of course, piano was one of them. I always asked why I had to do piano, and why my parents didn’t. Each time their response was “we never got the opportunity to learn an instrument, you have the opportunity so why don’t you take it?”  Eventually, I went along with it.

This time my teacher was truly rude. It made me want to go back to the other teacher and made me feel grateful for the last one too. When I look back I realized that this teacher truly taught me nothing.

My parents have always seen that I don’t learn forcefully or unhappily. My teacher was always really mean, but whenever my parents came to observe the class, I noticed that the teacher would always be very kind to me. One day, the teacher got so mad that she threw her hands down on the piano right on top of my hands.

Her nail had scratched my hand and there was some blood streaming down, my hands were red and I just couldn’t take it anymore. When I got in the car to go home, I started sobbing. Even though I was a 2nd grader I would rarely cry. My dad took me home and my parents immediately got me out of the class. They kept looking for a piano teacher until they finally found one.

Her name was Jeanne Chung, but to me she was Ms.Jeanne. She was a free soul and a happy spirit. At the age of 75, she was continuously happy living alone with her dogs. Her method (to this date) works the best for me. She is strict when she needs to be, empathetic, and extremely funny! She knows each student learns differently, and as soon as she enters a different student house, she gives them exactly what they need.

If I would ever keep repeating a mistake she would burst out and say “aahbhuneee what are you doing!?” Then she would burst out with twice as much laughter! She would always carry a backpack and a stool with her to each student’s house. My parents are extremely comfortable with her, and we always laugh about how she would never get my name right! I have gotten so used to her saying abuhnee, that if she were ever to say Avnee, I would probably feel weird about it! She is so genuine and pure and she would always treat us like family. Even my dog loves her, and she loves to babysit my dog when we go on vacation!

Even with this epidemic going around she never fails to teach me and make me laugh. I have only seen her sad once, when her dog died, but never again.

As an 11-year-old girl, I am now at an advanced level in piano. I love to sing so she started teaching me songs that I can sing with. She knew that I loved singing and she used this in her teaching. So far, my favorite song on the piano that I can sing with is “Lost Boy by Ruth B.” She taught me this song on the piano.

It’s the same keyboard, the same songs, and the same learning, but to a kid like me, it’s the thought and compassion within a teacher and the teacher herself who matters. It’s how they make me feel when I learn, and with Ms.Jeanne I don’t feel pressured to be perfect.

I know that the effort I put in is true and that just with a little more practice I will master the song. She makes me feel like what I do is good enough, but I should never stop at good enough, I should do it to the point where I know that I have mastered it. She makes me want to do more, and want to learn new songs. She is perfect with the way she treats me, the way she teaches me, the way she talks to me, and the way she is.

So for me, she truly is the perfect piano teacher.

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Avnee Upadhye

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