This is a true story from a a former elementary school music teacher in Des Moines, Iowa, named Mildred Honor.

During those years I found that children have many levels of musical ability, and even though I have never had the pleasure of having a prodigy, I have taught some very talented students. However, I have also had my share of what I call ‘musically challenged’ pupils – one such pupil being Robby.

Robby was 11 years old when his mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson. I prefer that students (especially boys) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby. But Robby said that it had always been his mother’s dream to hear him play the piano, so I took him as a student.

Well, Robby began his piano lessons and from the beginning I thought it was a hopeless endeavor. As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel. But he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary piano pieces that I require all my students to learn. Over the months he tried and tried while I listened and cringed and tried to encourage him.

At the end of each weekly lesson he would always say ‘My mom’s going to hear me play someday’. But to me, it seemed hopeless, he just did not have any inborn ability. I only knew his mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled, but never dropped in.

Then one day Robby stopped coming for his lessons. I thought about calling him, but assumed that because of his lack of ability he had decided to pursue something else. I was also glad that he had stopped coming – he was a bad advertisement for my teaching! Read more…