One of the greatest joys of teaching is getting to know my extraordinary students and watching them grow and change. Each one has a story... and I've asked them to share them with you.
More stories coming soon!
One day after I turned 40, I thought to myself that I needed music in my life.
Shortly after, I found myself in a music store, looking for an instrument to purchase. It needed to be small so that I can carry with me on business trips. Half an hour later, I waltzed out with a flute in my hand.
A flute? I had never even touched a flute in my life before! Little did I know how difficult this dainty instrument was to learn as an adult.
I was lucky to find Bonnie Blanchard. While she specializes in teaching talented kids, I am neither talented nor young! It takes me a long time to learn anything.
If I come close to playing a piece without a mistake, Bonnie suggests the next thing I need to learn. This next building block that I need to acquire has an interesting effect. Unlike talented young flute players who can just add it onto their foundation, I find myself suddenly not being able to do anything right. I utter under my breath “Ugh…” I practice and practice at home without hearing any measurable signs of improvement.
Since I began lesson with Bonnie, it has been teaching me more than music and the flute. It has taught me patience, diligence, steadfastness and more. The accomplishment of any tiny step brings me an exquisite sense of satisfaction.
As I wished a few years back, music has become part of my life and it is a beautiful thing.
I started playing the flute in middle school. There was no big inspirational reason behind it. My friends joined band, and I merely tagged along.
In my middle school band class, we didn’t play pieces; we played arrangements of show tunes and movie soundtracks. I think the highlight of our last concert was titled “Shrek: Ultimate Dance Party.” This was the extent of our playing abilities.
During band rehearsals, my friend and I were placed at the end of the row, where we would pretend to shoot at inanimate objects using our flutes as rifles. This continued for a long time until one day, it occurred to me that I was last chair. My friend was absent, and I sat by myself looking confused while the others played their instruments. Things returned to normal when he came back to class the next day. For the next few years, I remained last chair in band.
Many people thought that always being last chair was no big deal, but when you’re at the very bottom out of 14 people, it gets personal. For this sole reason, I began taking formal private lessons from a teacher at the end of my sophomore year.
The summer before my junior year, I watched performances by flutists at a local competition in Seattle. I was blown away. I didn’t know that such a world existed outside of boring, old band music. It was amazing to think that an instrument like the flute could be played to produce such wonderful music. There were even competitors as young as 12 playing pieces memorized with such strong confidence! This small instrument possessed the power to make people feel an array of emotions. Right then and there, I decided that nothing else would do for me unless it had to do with music.
Last year, I was fortunate to have found the opportunity to study with such a wonderful teacher like Bonnie Blanchard. Since then, she has been preparing me for my college-level studies in flute... and to think it all started with being last chair!