To my beloved piano teacher -
When I think about trying to tell someone about my piano teacher, I get, well ... rather stuck. And as I wrote her a birthday card, I told her that if I tried to tell her everything she is to me, it would end up like a BOOK. Sooo...you could see how that would take too long for now. :)
Truth is, before she was my piano teacher, she was our dear family friend, and her family were our dear family friends, and before she was my piano teacher, she was Kimberly's piano teacher. Well, at whatever age I was that I decided I wanted to play as well, I simply wasn't....attentive or ready enough. ;) Mrs. Drobnick has often said that she tried everything to hold my attention and I was just not there yet. ;) hahaha.....I do remember looking in awe at her hands that could span soo many more keys than my little ones could. And I LOVED to swing my legs on that piano bench. That actually didn't stop until I had to use the pedal.
So, we waited a little while for me to be a little older, but Kimberly still had lessons. Lessons were at Mrs. Drobnick's house. Kimberly would have her lesson, and I would be enthroned somewhere on a couch with a TV tray and a wonderful lunch and dessert, watching a movie, drinking lemonade or chocolate milk and being completely happy that it was "Lesson Day". :D Hahahaha. And then I'd skip over to Grandma Dorcas's house that was built onto the house, and knock on the door, to be welcomed in for a hug and some candy, and a little chat.
It's no small wonder that I didn't try to move in sometime to the Drobnick's house. ;) Interestingly, I adored their black and tan dachshund Chloe, and thought the sun rose and set on her. And their German Shepherd, Katie. I always thought that B & T Dachshunds were the best dogs ever. I always wanted one. And now .... I have one, and I know that they are the best dogs ever. ;)
In short, I adored (and still do) the Drobnicks, and loved taking lessons once I got old enough. I still, though, have a smaaaaall habit of trying to play out what Mrs. D. says and not quite listen to what she's saying before I play it out. ;)
(My 2nd recital. Spring Recital, May 2nd, 1997. I was almost 9, and Kimberly was 10 1/2)
Mrs. D. took a break a few years ago, and I tried to play with another teacher. Don't get me wrong, the other teacher was wonderful and a great pianist....but I didn't practice enough because I wasn't going "to disappoint Mrs. Drobnick". ;)
Then she started teaching again....and in the last four years or so, something has changed in the way I play. I don't know ... mostly filling the piece with emotion instead of getting the notes right. Of course, I try to get the notes right...but it's no longer my highest priority. If I like the way I play it, and the way I play it means something .... forget the way it was written. ;)
This has become the biggest thing for me in recent years and recitals!! As somewhat of a perfectionist in music, I want it to be perfect, the moment to be perfect, and because I did it that way. Mrs. Drobnick has never ever been an advocator for perfection. :) She loves it when we pour our hearts and souls into our pieces, and emerge loving what just happened.
.... and when we feel it too, we begin to see that perfection is not, and has not ever been ... the goal.
I've said it before - my Daddy made my memories of childhood be filled with guitar music and bluegrass, he taught me to love music, and Mrs. Drobnick taught me everything else.
All that being said .... over the years something has deepened. Not only is she my beloved piano teacher, she has become a best friend as well. Confidant, encourager, comforter, and teacher.
There have been days when I am simply not. up. for. it. Not any of it. Not any piano, not any music, and not any life. And I'm sure she has so many days that she doesn't want to teach. But she always comes to the front door with a welcoming smile on her face and a hug waiting for me, and patience when I didn't practice. ;)
Oh me. The horrible student. ;)
But something of grace has fallen upon these past few years of lessons.
I've come in many days with a heavy heart and eyes smudged with wet mascara, and in the middle of the lesson, it all comes out, and she pats me on my back. Then we go on, and when I leave I get a long hug, a wave out the door, a called "I love you!", and my trek down their steep hill of a driveway is with a smile and a lightened heart. Through the rain or heavy heat, through the dash under showering water through the dancing blossoms of spring, or the slow walk under the windy bending branches and past the jasmine bushes that smell like Heaven.
And I've come to the heart feeling that its when all is surrendered, and all is given, and all that this is is the moment when He is here .... that I am led by music to the places of worship before His throne. That the stillness when the music stops and the silence is deeper than us two breathing. When I open my eyes and realize they had been closed and feel the gospel explained yet again.
(June 3rd, 2011. Spring Recital ~ Me pouring out my heart, and Mrs. Drobnick sitting close.)
Music plumbs the depths of my soul. Music is when words fail, and says what we cannot. :) I don't think I ever feel so vulnerable than when I sit down and open my heart and pour myself into a piece. There have been so many times when I have, and simply lost it at the end. It was okay, because I've always said "I play for Jesus first and for His glory, then for Mrs. Drobnick, and then for everyone else.".
Sometimes its just easiest to say that we speak music together. :) Its often funny, because I will say one thing, that as I say it, it makes no sense whatsoever, but she is delighted and says "YES! that will work perfectly! let's do it!", and so we write it in. I love that she knows exactly what I mean, and I love that she teaches me with so much patience and grace and I love that she loves me more than making sure we use all the time in the lesson for only piano.
She is not only my beloved piano teacher....she is best friends to my Mom, the Mom of one of my best friends, and the Grammy to some of my favorite children in the world. She is husband to a guy that has been one of my favorite people in the world, even though when he looks like he might tease you, you should watch out. ;) HAHAa. She has walked valleys that no Mother ever wants to, and praises her Lord through all the questions and tears. She is one of the Godliest, most precious women I've ever known, and obviously, I adore her. :)
She has blogged God's truth from the Bible and years of Saints and encouragement amid honesty, and you can read it here - MaryCathD's Blog. If you read it over the course of a year, and then read it again, or just read it all in one day! Wow. ;) I promise you will be blessed. Because I have been. Over and over and over. :)
For those days when life made no sense and all I wanted to do was weep and weep, because God did not heal when we asked Him to, or when there was no visible promise of healing, you reminded me that He is worth it. He is worth it, and Heaven is worth it.
Thank you for so touching my life and holding me close through some of the weeping.
I love you more than you will ever know.
You have blessed me and my family, and we love to call you our extended family.
Thank you for all your years of teaching and love and recitals and "good job" on my writing tablet. Thank you for that cup of tea that meant the world to me. Thank you for all your hugs amid tears, and laughing about nothings. Thank you for pushing me when I needed it, and always telling me I could do it. Thank you for telling me that you will never be disappointed in me, and for reminding me almost weekly over the years Who we play for, and why we play that way. I know I will always remember you teaching me our favorite hymns and pieces, and your smile when I would finish. Such glory.
I hope to always play the piano, and always feel God's pleasure when I play for His glory.
Happy Birthday to the best piano teacher in the world, and my beloved friend!!!
~ Jean Marie ~
P.S. I think one of my first recital pieces was called "Window shopping". ;) and it was a DUET. :)
(looks like this blog post DID almost turn into a book. ;)
"The Book of the Best Piano Teacher in the World, who also happened to be a best friend of mine and one of the Godliest women I know. Stories of our lessons together." haha. ;D