Skip to content
June 5, 2010 / Donna

THE PRODIGY

This is a beautiful and touching story of love and perseverance. Well worth the read.

At the prodding of my friends I am writing this story. My name is Mildred Honor and I am a former elementary school music teacher from Des Moines, Iowa. I have always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons – something I have done for over 30 years.

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 endeavour. 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!

Several weeks later I mailed a flyer recital to the students’ homes.  To my surprise, Robby (who had received a flyer) asked me if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and that because he had dropped out, he really did not qualify. He told me that his mother had been sick and unable to take him to his piano lessons, but that he had been practicing. ‘Please Miss Honor, I’ve just got to play’ he insisted. I don’t know what led me to allow him to play in the recital – perhaps it was his insistence or maybe something inside of me saying that it would be all right.

The night of the recital came and the high school gymnasium was packed with parents, relatives and friends. I put Robby last in the program, just before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he might do would come at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor performance through my ‘curtain closer’.

Well, the recital went off without a hitch, the students had been practicing and it showed. Then Robby came up on the stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked as though he had run an egg beater through it. ‘Why wasn’t he dressed up like the other students?’ I thought. ‘Why didn’t his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?’ Robby pulled out the piano bench, and I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen to play Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 in C Major. I was not prepared for what I heard next. His fingers were light on the keys; they even danced nimbly on the ivories. He went from pianissimo to fortissimo, from allegro to virtuoso; his suspended chords that Mozart demands were magnificent! Never had I heard Mozart played so well by anyone his age.

After six and a half minutes he ended in a grand crescendo, and everyone was on their feet in wild applause! Overcome and in tears, I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy. ‘I have never heard you play like that Robby, how did you do it?’ Through the microphone Robby explained: ‘Well, Miss Honor …. Remember I told you that my mom was sick? Well, she actually had cancer and passed away this morning. And well….. she was born deaf, so tonight was the first time she had ever heard me play, and I wanted to make it special.’

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house that evening. As the people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed in to foster care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy. I thought to myself then how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil. No, I have never had a prodigy, but that night I became a prodigy…. of Robby. He was the teacher and I was the pupil, for he had taught me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself, and may be even taking a chance on someone and you didn’t know why.

Robby was killed years later in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P.Murray Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April, 1995.

And now, a footnote to the story. If you are thinking about forwarding this message, you are probably wondering which people on your address list aren’t the ‘appropriate’ ones to receive this type of message. The person who sent this to you believes that we can all make a difference!

So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice -Do we act with compassion or do we pass up that opportunity and leave the world a bit colder in the process?

Donna

Advertisements
THE BODY PRINCIPLE

Fibromyalgia and Depression. Fighting the stigma attached to yet another illness not widely understood. We search for answers from the experts who are just searching for the answers themselves. We must take our lives back into our own hands!.... One step at a time... One day at a time!.... Because if you don't who will??

*Haziefantazie and the Spooky-mog*

A fine WordPress.com site

Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

Environmental Health: Living in a Polluted World

babette67's Blog

Living with Fibromyalgia

Stacy Sews and Schools

spirituality and healing for the mind, body and soul"

Creative Homemaking Almanac

Christian homemaking. writing, frugal and natural living, living as a Proverbs 31 wife-in-training.

Thecrazylady's Weblog

A crazy lady's journey in this crazy world

iDesignLife

A Journey Into Living Life by Design

A Kiss Of Bliss

a tickle of words to create smiles

New Earth Heartbeat

Breathing with the Heart of the Earth

Don't Forget to Feed the Baby

Because they let you become a parent even if you have NO IDEA what you're doing.

dominicspoweryoga

Welcome to Dominic's Power Yoga for Health and Fitness Tips plus more!

foryourowngood.org

A wellness blog, with commonsensical health tips and unbiased information on integrative medicines

The Epigenetics Project Blog

Can our DNA be "Played" like a musical instrument?

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

Positive Juice

The search for a meaningful, fulfilling life.

Looking for reasoning to a complicated world

THE MAN WITH HIS FINGER ON THE PULSE OF REAL OR ALTERNATIVE NEWS, WORLDWIDE, BRINGING YOU THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW

THE NINTH THEORY

"And the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom" - Anaïs Nin

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: