That time I tried to learn piano- Harsh Lessons- Guest Blog from Helena Berlin

A couple of years ago, Christian asked me to give him piano lessons. I was wary of this undertaking, mainly because we are polar opposites in our approach to anything creative or instructive, and we’re prone to epic spats. I told him that I was willing to oblige, provided he followed my rules of instruction. He agreed.
Having once been a teacher in another life, I’m skilled at handling the occasional unruly student, but Christian surpassed my most daunting classroom experiences. Let’s set aside the borderline sexual harassment.
He refused to go with the flow of the lesson, instead banging out frictional “chords”, and asking “hey, what key am I in?”
None key, man.
I moved on to a few basic visuals on standard notation. He balked at the visuals. I told him that he might try to conceptualize the notes as “little bugs suspended on a wires”. The “bugs”, and their positions on the wires,  I explained, represent different notes. He banged out more discordant shit on my piano and belted a song he called “Bugs on a Wire!!”
Fuck it. Expelled.  I kicked him out of our music room.
In retrospect, the failed piano lesson actually clarified how and why our song writing collaborations work. Discipline and structure from my end. Bugs neatly aligned on the wires.
Messy, amorphous, reckless cacophony from Christian’s end. Bugs stomped to oblivion.
For now, the epic spats are worth it, but there will be no more lessons.

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