I received a phone call this morning from a mom of one of my students. She called to thank me for what I said to her daughter during her lesson. She wanted me to know that the student said how good, self-confident and enthusiastic my comment made her feel. The mom went on for about 10 minutes saying how I made a difference in her daughters life. This is the kind of phone call that every teacher dreams of receiving. It really was incredible for me to hear. Now, here’s the thing. I don’t remember saying anything profound, or even that far off from a normal lesson. This student is tackling something new. She is going to accompany another instrumentalist for the first time. She received the music and after playing through it on her own was feeling overwhelmed and like she wasn’t going to be able to do what was necessary. After hearing her initial play through, I started to tweak where it needed and offered advice in other spots, and just in general encouraged her and told her I was positive she could do this. I tried to highlight how accompanying is different from solo work and told her some hints I’ve accumulated over the years. I also told her I was proud of her for taking on the challenge. Her mom said she was positively beaming because I said I was proud of her.
I think we often don’t realize the impact our words have on others. I never thought what I was saying would have any effect beyond our lesson time. I was not stretching the truth or trying to make her feel good. I was simply telling her the positives I was seeing from her and providing guidance and encouragement as I helped her make improvements where they were needed.
So, my simple little piano lesson made a difference to her, and you know what, it made a difference to me too. By calling and thanking me, the mom reminded me that I am good at what I do. She renewed my passion in my job. She made a difference in my life.