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As a means of expressing my gratitude and joy that THE BETTER SIDE WON, in spite of Citizens United et al, I wanted to post an update.  I thought I owed this to the universe, after all my negative diaries.
I had pretty much given up on piano teaching and was considering jobs that provide health insurance: driving a school bus, serving coffee (Starbucks has pretty good benefits) and various others.
I will let my students express what a musical education means to them, and why private music instruction should not be allowed to die, or relegated to the hobbyist:

    Here is an essay one of my students wrote just before I got too sick to teach:

"Wednesdays with Kareylou"

       I  have  never  been  very  outspoken.  I  love  to  talk, don't get me wrong, but I am not obvious about  it.  I  could  talk  for  hours  if  you  take  the  chance  on  me,  but  few  ever  do.  If  you  put  me  into  a  room  with   thirty  different  people,  I  will  never  be  the  one  to  speak  first.  
      Playing  piano  was  a  big change. I learned how to play at an early age, and haven't stopped  since.  My  teacher  taught  me  how  to  play  piano  differently.  She  taught  me  to  hear  the  sounds  inside  of   me,  and  then  play  them  back  how  I  heard  them.  It  was  confusing  back  then,  to  understand  exactly  what   she  meant.  When  I  played  the  music  back  it  sounded  exactly  like  I  had  heard,  but  my  teacher  would   always  say,  listen  and  try  again.    
      My  teacher  began  to  talk  about  how  music  was  intertwined  into  our  everyday  lives.  The  obvious   example  is  the  radio.  Everyone  listens  to  the  radio.  She  disagreed,  saying  there  was  much  more  and  that   I  had  to  look  deeper,  listen  harder  to  the  music  around  me.    
      So  the  majority  of  my  life  has  been  spent  listening.  It  started  off  as  just  listening  to  music.  Soon   enough,  everything  was  music.  Listening  to  good  and  bad,  listening  to  happy  and  sad,  listening  to  others,   listening  to  the  sounds  around  me,  and  listening  to  nothing.  It  was  as  if  there  was  this  huge  song  being   played  around  me,  and  I  could  hear  every  sound  inside  of  me.    
After  that  I  began  to  realize  what  exactly  my  teacher  was  talking  about.    I  listened  to  people   speak  in  the  same  way  that  I  listened  to  the  strings  of  a  piano.  I  can  identify  different  emotions  within  a   conversation  as  easily  as  I  identify  the  notes  to  a  song.  
     Over time I have listened to hundreds of different things, things,  both  in  song  and  conversation,  and  for  the  first  time  since  I  can  remember  I  want  to  be  the  one   to  talk.  
     Through  music  I  have  found  my  identity.  I  know  what  I  love  to  do,  and  others  understand  it   when  they  hear  it.  I  used  to  think  there  was  only  one  type  of  music,  but  now  I  can  hear  it  everywhere.  My   teacher  taught  me  how  to  listen,  and  music  taught  me  how  to  speak.

***********************

     When I was too sick to teach last year, for about six weeks, some of the teenagers got together and composed and recorded a song that really helped get me back on my feet:

********

I always ask one of my students to compose a quote for our recital program. Here is the latest one:

It's difficult. It's not always going to make you happy,
     and sometimes you will want to quit.
It's time consuming. How much time you spend on it determines
     how well it will turn out.
It's real. So real that at times it seems like a dream
     that you never want to wake up from.
It's universal. No one is excluded, and everyone can relate to it.
It's changeable, and it always wants to change.
     You can never hear the same thing twice.
It's influential. It can move people, fill them with hope,
     or shed light on something forgotten.
It's worth it. I've never once regretted it, even when I thought it had failed me.
It's music.

********

Last year, I had the most rewarding moment of my teaching career to date when a girl named Luisa played her last recital with me. Her father stood up in front of the audience to speak. He is an immigrant from Mexico and he and his wife brought their daughter to me when she was only four. We stuck together through thick and thin, through his unemployment and my illness, I taught her when they didn't have money and they brought me food and shoveled my walk when I was too sick to cook or shovel, and now we have sent Luisa off to NYU on scholarship for Music Composition. He eventually sat down because he couldn't get the words out. I couldn't have spoken either. These are the kinds of relationships I have been privileged to enjoy.

**********

Now that I know the ACA is not going to be repealed, I can go back to private teaching, and purchase health insurance from an exchange. My students and I thank everyone who worked so hard to help make this happen. I know it is not perfect, but we won't stop until everyone can pursue their dreams. Health care should not be tied to marriage or employment, and we have taken one step further toward that destination.  

Thanks America!!

Originally posted to kareylou on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:09 AM PST.

Also republished by J Town.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate--that is strength undefeatable. (Helen Keller)

    by kareylou on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:09:01 AM PST

  •  Glad to hear you can go back to your vocation. (3+ / 0-)

    Few things more crushing than not being able to do what you love. My husband is a musician, and I can't imagine what it would do to him now to walk away; he did some years ago, long before we met, and he's still scarred from it. Thanks for passing your love of music along to those who also have the heart to hear.

    I'm seeking to organize DKos members in SE Michigan--roughly, from the Ohio line at Lake Erie NE to Port Huron, W to Flint and back S from there. If you'd like to join our new group, Motor City Kossacks (working title), please Kosmail me.

    by peregrine kate on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:29:43 AM PST

    •  Never left entirely (3+ / 0-)

      But now I can go back full-time and rededicate myself to bringing music into the lives of children. I can't imagine what my own life would be like without it. Plus I'm not really that good at anything else. I will never drive big vehicles again. thanks for your kind words.

      To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate--that is strength undefeatable. (Helen Keller)

      by kareylou on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:33:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My admiration for you (3+ / 0-)

    knows no bounds.  As much as music is my life, teaching private students is not something I can do.  I'm so glad that you can continue to nurture new musicians.  I worry about who will take over at church when I can't climb the steps anymore.  Not only aren't there young church musicians out there to take over, there are hardly any keyboard players who are ready.

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:11:41 AM PST

    •  Build a ramp!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      luckylizard

      Then you won't have to climb the steps. Thanks for your kind words.

      To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate--that is strength undefeatable. (Helen Keller)

      by kareylou on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:19:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We're actually looking at (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kareylou

        one of those little chair lifts that folds up when not in use.  The stairs to the loft are steep and narrow, built in a an era when accessibility wasn't a consideration.  We're trying to find something that will fit there and still allow foot traffic.  I have a few younger people in my choir, but most of us are old, and many have replacement parts (hips, knees, etc.).

        -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

        by luckylizard on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:37:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Time to start pushing for single payer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kareylou

    The ACA gives States the flexibility to create their own single payer healthcare systems as Vermont has done. Now California has a legislative super majority of Democrats removing any Republican blocking of single payer. California Onecare

    •  yep!!!!!! (0+ / 0-)

      I couldn't agree more. Although I think we can foresee whether VA, where I live, is going to set up single-payer.

      To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate--that is strength undefeatable. (Helen Keller)

      by kareylou on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:31:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You and your students (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kareylou

    are awesome!  Music does not come easily or naturally to me, but the piano lessons I took from age 5-16 re-opened a whole new world to me when I decided to buy a bass guitar for my 44th birthday.

    Having a dedicated and passionate teacher has made all the difference.  He's not cheap, but in six months he took me from "flying fingers" to knowing a dozen or more songs, all my scales, and more music theory than I ever knew existed.  

    Music is one of the best medicines in the world.  Your work matters.  I am so glad you and your students will be able to pursue your dreams!

     I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.     -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by SteelerGrrl on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:51:48 AM PST

  •  Being a music teacher... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kareylou

    ...is a great way to make a life.

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 12:53:42 PM PST

    •  thanks for reading, WarrenS. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS

      To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate--that is strength undefeatable. (Helen Keller)

      by kareylou on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 02:40:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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