Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Monday Morning Inspiration # 64

I'm so sorry about the delay in posting my MMI for this week, been held up with tests in Univ. and Im finally donw with them all today .. Here goes this week's inspiration.

My name is Mildred Hondorf. I am a former elementary school music teacher from DeMoines, Iowa. I've always supplimented my income by teaching piano lessons--something I've done for over 30 years. Over the years

I found that children have many levels of musical ability. I've never had the pleasure of having a protege though I have taught some talented students. However I've also had my share of what I call "musicically challenged" pupils. One such student was 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 with his piano lessons and from the beginning I thought it was a hopeless endeavor. As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rythm needed to excel. But he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary 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'd always say, "My mom's going to hear me play some day." But 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 stopped in. Then one day Robby stopped coming to our lessons. I thought about calling him but assumed, because of his lack of ability, that he had decided to pursue something else. I also was glad that he stopped coming. He was a bad advertisement for my teaching!

Several weeks later I mailed to the student's homes a flyer on the upcoming recital. To my surprise Robby (who received a flyer) asked me if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and because he had dropped out he really did not qualify.

He said that his mom had been sick and unable to take him to piano essons but he was still practicing. "Miss Hondorf...I've just got to play!" he insisted. I don't know what led me to allow him to play in the recital.

Maybe it was his persistance or maybe it was something inside of me saying that it would be alright.

The night for the recital came. The high school gymnasium was packed with parents, friends and relatives. I put Robby up last in the program before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he would 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 stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked like he' run an egg-beater through it.

"Why didn't he dress 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 he began. I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen Mozart's Concerto #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 people 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've never heard you play like that Robby!

How'd you do it?" Through the microphone Robby explained: "Well Miss Hondorf...remember I told you my mom was sick? Well actually she had cancer and passed away this morning. And, well....she was born deaf so tonight was the first time she ever heard me play. 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 into foster care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy and I thought to myself how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil. No, I've never had a progege but that night I became a protege...of Robby's. He was the teacher and I was the pupil. For it is he that taught me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself and maybe even taking a chance in someone and you don't know why.

To read other Monday Morning inspiration click here


Ramana KV said...

Touching.. Good one :)

Vasanthan said...

i hate the word "hopeless" to be used to brand someone who is learning. unless one has given up there is still hope.
When there is hope there is a will and when there is a will there is a way.

PS: Congrats on completing your exams. i know you will do well. way to go!

Arv said...

beautiful tale to let us all know that even the most humble experience can teach us something quite precious :)

take care da... cheers...

Sharmilee! :) said...

Truely inspiring....very nice one Shalini!

Anonymous said...

Nice One Dear Shalini
I just love your articles
To select such articles , I am sure
your thought process is very godd and highly positive.

Guess from whom the feedback is ,if you can

Shalini Gowrisankar said...


Thank you so much! Glad you liked it :)

Shalini Gowrisankar said...


So true, it actuallt de-motivates an individual and more so a kid when they are branded hope less. It does really take a lot of effort and will power to come out of such a shell to prove oneself :)

Thanks Vasan :) My tests went well not all that great thou .

Shalini Gowrisankar said...


Thank you so much! It is these small day to day happenings that helps each of us learn so much in life . May be thats y they say one should keep their eyes and ears wide open ;)

Shalini Gowrisankar said...


Thanks dear :) Good luck with your new blog, will be there to read it soon :)

Shalini Gowrisankar said...


Thank you so much . Glad to know you like my articles and I'm really happy to have you at my blog space.

But, I really have no clue as to whom it could be from .. Any clues, it would be better if you could actually let me know who you are :)

Sharmilee! :) said...

Thanks Shalini! Have a nice weekend!

Dhanjay said...

Hmm, Gud one. :)

Chronicwriter said...


nice story gowri


Jarlin said...

Good one...keep posting.

Invite you to visit my page too.

Shalini Gowrisankar said...


Your welcome ! :)

Shalini Gowrisankar said...


Thanks :) Glad you liked it :)

Shalini Gowrisankar said...

@Chronic writer

Thank you so much! Glad to see you inspired :)

Shalini Gowrisankar said...


Thank you so much! Will visit your space soon :)

Thanks for dropping by too. Stay in touch!

Goli said...

I love this section of Monday mornin g inspiration... nice stories.. even though you would have heard similar stories before but everytime always like to read them and learn something different from them everytime.