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Excerpts From Yearly Progress Reports From My Private Piano Teacher, Andrew W.K

Alexander Schmidt


AGE 5: “Alex needs to be keeping his fingers curved, instead of flat, on the keys. Until we fix this, I can’t do anything about his total lack of head-thrashing.”AGE 6: “We need to talk about how much time Alex is spending on fundamentals, like scales and arpeggios. Because Alex should be doing less of all those things.”


AGE 7: “Alex plays the piano itself well enough, but doesn’t really explore the space.”


AGE 8: “I don’t care what else got into Alex’s laundry: when I say that proper recital dress consists of white shoes, white pants, and a white T-shirt, I don’t mean ‘off-white’, or ‘sandstone’, or ‘alabaster’. I mean white.”


AGE 9: “Alex is not building up the necessary calluses to be a professional concert pianist, especially in his forehead area.”


AGE 10: “Mrs. Schmidt, I know you weren’t pleased with me when I sent Alex away and didn’t give him any lessons for a few weeks. But I have to tell you that when Alex gets his hair cut that short, he does not look like someone who can be taken seriously as a musician.”


AGE 11: “Alex should be playing his third or fourth piano by now, but his first one is still in good working order. I don’t know if he will ever reach the skill level necessary to utterly destroy his instrument in a fit of joy.”


AGE 12: “Alex managed to competently play all three parts of Haydn’s Concerto in D Major, but his between-movement banter was a disaster.”


AGE 13: “Alex is too quick to try to stop or staunch his own bleeding.”


AGE 14: “Although we’ve only just begun to study composition, Alex has no chance of becoming a professional songwriter if he doesn’t focus more on power chords, along with lyrics featuring anthemic expressions of the desire to party.”


AGE 15: “Alex is hesitant in his playing whenever the audience becomes what he calls ‘distracting’. He still hasn’t learned that great pianists don’t reject the energy of a mosh pit, but accept that energy and build from it.”


AGE 16: “Alex recently told me that he has been staying in on Friday nights in order to take an SAT prep class at the local community college. Alex is no longer welcome at my studio.”





Alex Schmidt was hit by a lot of snowballs as a child, because he was tall and slow. However, through his perseverance, dedication, and unshakeable will, he has grown taller and slower every day since. His hardscrabble Internet home can be found at the following URL:
A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure. - Henry David Thoreau


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