MY MOTHER, JOYCE WOOD, TAUGHT PIANO LESSONS FOR SEVENTY-TWO YEARS STRAIGHT. In a row. With no years off. You get the idea. A great teacher. She passed away three years ago, and I’ve shared some of her wit and wisdom here before. Following is a document that will sound familiar to every teacher of any subject, although the details are specific to piano lessons. Here, then, is a list of excuses which my mother saved, and termed, “Ivory Alibis”.
1. I haven’t had time to practice.
2. The piano needs tuning.
3. I forgot my glasses.
4. This piano feels so different.
5. The page turn messed me up.
6. I didn’t know I was supposed to turn the page.
7. It sounded better at home.
8. The bench is too low.
9. The bench is too high.
10. I practiced it faster.
11. I practiced it slower.
12. A key is sticking.
13. I didn’t know we were repeating.
14. I’ve never played this before.
15. The action is too loose.
16. The action is too stiff.
17. The pedal stuck.
18. There was a mouse in the piano.
19. I didn’t like this piece anyway.
(Dedicated to Kathy Wood, who now teaches on Mother’s piano, and has also heard ’em all.)