Composing Her Own Demise

, , , | Learning | August 10, 2017

(My music teacher has been getting lower grades than expected from her upper year students. It has triggered an inspection to see if there is an underlying cause. Because of this, she has become quite authoritarian with our freedoms, telling us off if we play anything that is not to her tastes, or show independent thought. I have been playing some of my favourite compositions in one lesson when she comes down hard on me, screaming that she will expel me from school if I don’t play the songs she wants. Being eleven at the time, I didn’t realise this isn’t a decision she can make, and fearfully submit to her demands. She selects a piece for us to all practice and demonstrate on the day of inspection.)

Inspector: *after the third pupil plays* “Is this really all you have taught your children? One composition?”

Teacher: “No! They have a lot of freedom. Even more modern and less conventional. They can play what they like! Right, kids?”

(None of us react, and she starts glaring at us one by one.)

Inspector: “It seems like you have quite a tight hold on them.”

(He asks a few questions and then asks another pupil to play.)

Inspector: “Again! Really, Mrs. [Teacher]. I’m starting to understand where this downward trend is coming from. You’ve got them wound so tightly. They need freedom! Stimulation!”

Teacher: “No, they do have freedom. How about [My Name]? He loves playing his own compositions!”

Inspector: “You’re violin? Then, please. Play something you enjoy; something you LOVE to play.”

(I don’t really understand at the time, so I just go with what the teacher selected. I look up at her to see if she is pleased, but she looks like she is about to kill me. I tense up and after only a few seconds the inspector asks me to stop. I’m crying at this point.)

Inspector: “Mrs. [Teacher], this is absolutely unacceptable. This poor boy can barely breathe, stifled in his creativity. It looks close to torture! I think we are done here.”

(He walked out. Our teacher went pale, and I thought she was going to explode, but she dismissed us early and retired to her office. That was the last I saw of her, and I’m only learning and realising now that she was dismissed for incompetence. I actually felt really guilty, knowing what hand I had to play in her dismissal. Other than that short time with the inspection, I didn’t have a single problem with her.)

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