Printer-friendly version
Emily Grossman


March 16, 2006 at 11:08 AM

Well, what would you think if your new student showed up with pink hair held back by a black cat-ear headband? I was pretty excited, myself. Taylor is also the only student I’ve had so far who could carry on an entire conversation while playing through her piano assignments.

She is also the only student with an affinity for japanimation and theater, and she prefers the music of Danny Elfman over Alfred’s Basic Piano Curriculum. I don’t blame her, either. As she pointed out herself while struggling through the third measure, the oom-pah-pah’s of the left hand in “Blow the Man Down” sound a bit like circus music. “I hate circus music,” she remarked, while coordinating her dotted quarter note. “Watch out, or I’ll give you a monkey sticker for that!” I threatened. I have a wide assortment of silly stickers, mostly in the form of smilies, which I place on all performed literature that meets my approval. Some kids prefer yellow smileys, and some are pink fanatics. The monkeys are a bit frightening to most, though, and I bought them mostly for my own entertainment, to see how each student would respond to the idea of earning a monkey or a banana. Yeah, I admit, it sounds a bit degrading. But I guarantee it brings at least a chuckle into the lesson.

Taylor continued with her oom-pah-pah’s. “You know, every time I miss this part right here, God kills a kitten. At least, that’s what I tell myself to help me concentrate on getting it right.” ...Okay, whatever helps you focus. I personally couldn’t focus if I was picturing the slaughter of small innocent animals as the direct consequence of my failure. I’d be laughing too hard. “Hey, Taylor, here’s some further motivation: how about, every time you get this line right, God kills a clown.” By now, we were laughing more than anything else. But she got the line right, so who’s to say I’m such an awful teacher? I handed her a blue smiley instead of the juggling monkey. I’ll save the juggling monkey for Amari’s lesson tomorrow. She loves yellow bananas.

...Ooh, I just discovered two sheets of froggie stickers hidden behind the monkey sheets. Holy cow, Jonathan is going to be ecstatic about that! He’s been asking for frogs for a year and a half now, and Soldotna seems to be perpetually depleted of frogs, for whatever reason.

Now, if anyone could point me in the right direction to find a beginner arrangement of something from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, I would greatly appreciate it. Taylor insists on nothing else.

From John Lanceley
Posted on March 16, 2006 at 4:19 PM
oh yes, those stickers are very fetching :-)
From Linda Lerskier
Posted on March 16, 2006 at 8:09 PM
" I personally couldn’t focus if I was picturing the slaughter of small innocent animals as the direct consequence of my failure. I’d be laughing too hard."

Fantastic line, Emily! I couldn't have worte it better!

From Emily Grossman
Posted on March 16, 2006 at 8:40 PM
My favorite is the fat monkey on the bottom right, which kinda reminds me of John Lanceley's infatuation with tiramisu.

Monkeys and frogs are the best for interacting with the drawings at the tops of the pages.

Linda, I meant that the thought of God being so evil provoked a funny mental image, that's all. (glowing halo)

From Emily Grossman
Posted on March 16, 2006 at 9:24 PM
Holy cow! Behind the monkey and the frog sticker sheets, there's more! Tigers playing basketball. And... Hippos. Hippos playing the guitar, swimming, taking ballet, and eating... frogs! I kid you not. These are the best stickers I've ever had. I'm going back to Fred Meyer to buy all they have in stock.

Man, today's lessons are gonna be so fun.

From Wanda Jenkins
Posted on March 16, 2006 at 10:58 PM
You've hit the pot of gold a day early.

TIme to check out the sticker section at Freddies, unless they sent all the good ones up north to cheer up the grey of winter's end.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on March 17, 2006 at 7:45 AM
Those stickers look great. I'll start looking for some good ones tomorrow. Do you have any advice on where I should look? My favorite toy store, which had great stickers, was Zany Brainy, but they went out of business a few years ago. Any suggestions?

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Business Directory Business Directory

Johansen International Competition

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine