Friday Fictioneers – The Music Teacher

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - The Music Teacher 180627

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The Music Teacher

She was an excellent flautist, with a string of diplomas.

Naturally she had to earn a living – at least until an orchestral post came along – so she taught by day, performed with semi-professional bands by night, and auditioned for every orchestral playing job she could.

She married, had children, auditioned in Cardiff, Stavanger and Tel Aviv, and kept teaching.

She taught good pupils to excel, she nurtured slow pupils; everyone caught the joy of music that she radiated.

Retirement came, but she kept on teaching.

I wonder how many hundreds of lives are richer for the life she has lived?

69 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – The Music Teacher

  1. These are nice thoughts. There is nothing better when people can follow a vocation at work. When you can live a job with passion, working hours are not wasted hours, because you feel what you give.
    It is sad that many of these jobs are not paid so well that you can live carefree. But I agree, she has made many lives richer and hopefully her own as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sandra
      Thank you for reading and commenting. If I had had more than 100 words, I might have mentioned the way she could inspire virtually anyone from a high-flying professional to a young adult with learning difficulties, treating each with the same respect and care while making the lesson content appropriate to the individual.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like a real gem of a teacher as well as a first rate musician Penny. I love her infinite energy and pride in doing what she could do to contribute to her craft, even if it brought her no accolades. She clearly benefitted all those she touched. Many gifted artists of all types impact our lives but remain unsung because their lives took a more nuanced path.

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  2. As with all art, it helps if there’s a bunch of money coming in from somewhere. Many of the literary authors are married to stock market managers, doctors, lawyers, etc. Some have family money. Poverty is all-encompassing, and somebody who works 80 hours a week to stay afloat likely doesn’t have much time for creative pursuits. That said, it’s characters like your flutist who make life worth living. I love this character sketch and the thought it expresses.

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  3. Dear Josh
    Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m delighted you enjoyed my character sketch and the thought that it expresses. Money is not always a good measure of the value that an individual contributes to society, is it?
    With very best wishes
    Penny

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wonder if it broke her heart in the end, being deemed not quite good enough to play in an orchestra? I hope not as through her teaching she gave even more than she could have done through performing. Lovely story Penny

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Lynn
      Thank you for reading and commenting.
      This is one story where I know some of the answers, as it’s more biography than fiction! No, not playing in a professional orchestra didn’t break her heart – although it could have done – because she understood that it wasn’t because she wasn’t good enough, but because the competition was so fierce. There are very few jobs for woodwind players, and many players who would be good enough to fill them. Even to be auditioned is to have the credentials to do the job, and on several occasions she progressed to the final round of auditions. So, wistfulness, but no broken heart!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

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    • Dear Stuart
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Even though for many years she aspired to a performing career, she taught to the very best of her ability and won the hearts of her students.
      With best wishes
      Penny

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    • Dear Ali
      Thank you for reading and commenting.
      I feel sure that, given the choice, she would choose a performing career, even knowing what she has achieved as a teacher. But because she gave such love and commitment to her pupils she feels that she has had a fulfilling life.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • she had and still will have positive impact, no? And this will bring of course joy to her. Even if she didn’t achieve what she planned, she is still alive. She still dreams of a own musician career and if there is no way through the big orchestra as she planned, there will perhaps other paths open….dreams do not often come true on a straight line of planned steps…it opens often through other people you never thought of….

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  5. This part of your opening line is so perfect ~ with a string of diplomas. It fits well with the guitar.
    Always reaching for something grand helps keep us excited while accomplishing the day-to-day tasks. The fact that she could influence so many is heart-warming.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Lish
      Thank you for reading and for your perceptive comment. As you say, aspiring to the highest level of performance in any discipline keeps us excited in our day-to-day tasks.
      With best wishes
      Penny

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    • Dear Russell
      Thank you for reading and for your very kind comment. To say, as you do, that our real purpose in life is to help others grow, is deeply humane and rather wonderful. Thank you for that!
      With best wishes
      Penny

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  6. Love the story… the world needs good teachers like her. There is something in your story that reminds me of Nadia Boulanger… the musical teacher of so many great musician of the 20th century…
    She was a also a composer, but was overshadowed by her little sister Lily Boulanger (who died young)… I went to a concert once with music composed by the two sisters… fascinating story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Bjorn
      Thank you for reading and commenting. As you say, Nadia Boulanger is best remembered for teaching so many outstanding pianists rather than for her compositions. I can’t help wondering how much that was imposed on her by the sexist and discriminatory nature of society, especially during that period.
      With best wishes
      Penny

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    • Dear Dawn
      Thank you for reading and commenting so kindly. I’m sure your friend’s mother would have enjoyed the story while vigorously disclaiming any special merit for what she has achieved – good teachers are like that!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Completely correct music is about much more, so as all kind of art is… if people understand or feel what is behind this expression, but in this case I think the person herself gave a value to others not the music. As I moved to another town and had to go on with another pianoteacher I stopped the lessons after one hour, because the teacher frightened me…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Keith
      Thank you for reading and commenting. As you say, professional music making is not just about strumming a few chords on a guitar. I must say, though – and I think the main character of my story would agree – if in strumming a few chords you give pleasure to yourself and maybe a few others, then you’re making music and it’s well worth doing!
      I’m so glad you enjoyed my story!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dahlia
      Thank you for reading and for your kind comment. Yes, teachers and carers are unsung heroes.
      Thank you for your best wishes for my holiday. Yes, I’m having a great time. We went to Mycenae today and walked around the archaeological site and museum. We have tickets for a performance of an Aristophane’s comedy in the ancient theatre of Epidauros tomorrow evening.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So sad to read the comment about the child being frightened by a music teacher. I hear that too often. But wonderful to read an account of a woman who gave so much to her pupils. The joy she will have instilled in them is infinite. A good teacher able to encourage and nurture and inspire is a very special being.

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  8. I would guess that thousands of lives are the richer – and three cheers to you Penny for the Educators experience you captured.

    side note –
    when I first read the opening my mind mixed up the letters for
    flautist
    – had me thinking of
    A flatulist, fartist, or professional farter is an entertainer (sometimes considered a comedian) …. bah

    Like

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