The Days With No Voice and No Lessons

[anti-rclick]March 2, 2010

February 26: Started having a sore throat after teaching. Felt feverish that night, took some cold pills immediately and went to rest early.

February 27: Continued teaching for the day. Felt okay and believed the situation was getting better.

February 28: Woke up with little voice. Shocked but did not cancel the lessons. Still used the voice as much as possible. Went through the whole day’s teaching without break and much nutrition intake.

March 1: Woke up with much horror to find there was no voice left (stressed her too much the day before!). Immediately went to see the doctor, who insisted on giving me some day-off notes while I kept asking him how to be able to teach the next day. Canceled the day’s lessons. Still thinking there would be voice the next day.
No voice at night, canceled the next morning’s lessons. Still thinking I could teach the afternoon lessons.

March 2: Woke up with no voice still. Still thinking, perhaps I could teach without a voice.
No, I cannot. Coughing too much, cannot infect students.
Sigh. Canceled all afternoon lessons. No lessons whole day. Two days.


For the first time, I find my voice to be more important than my hands.


I am not someone who needs to talk. In fact, when I was still a uni student, I hardly spoke. I could count how many sentences I had spoken each day. Sometimes 1, sometimes 2. 2 was considered a lot. Everyday I went to school, I attended classes, then rushed to practice. I ate alone during my little practice break, then went back to practice more. I did not talk. My classmates thought I was a snob. I wasn’t. I just didn’t like to talk much. I wanted to practice. In fact, there was not much I could talk with others as I hardly noticed what was going on outside the practice/study world. I didn’t watch any TV or read gossip magazines. I only read books related to music. I read research books and magazines on piano and composers. I watched ballet performance videos alone in the library only out of interest not for study. I went to film festival alone (mind you, that was 10 years ago). Who would want to discuss those? with me?

I talked with my hands. I communicated what I thought only through the piano. I did not know how to use the computer. I found it cold, mechanic, that it should not have anything to do with music, with piano. I didn’t even know how to insert a floppy disk in a computer test at uni! I was that bad.

I would write an essay for uni course and had my little brother do the typing (thanks, Fran). I don’t know how he did but he could read my almost illegible writing (students and parents would know what I am saying; it was much much worse than now!). I did not bother to learn using the computer. I was that much of despising the technology.

But now I am building my own website (of course not html coding, thanks to WordPress). I type all my articles, edit every videos and music tracks for this website. I use GarageBand (greatly intuitive) and Finale (not useful!) to print music sheets, playing through an keyboard (not piano). I make the audio recordings here with all the complicated set up of recording machines and mics (with help of friend of course). I use a video camera to record my and students’ playing and edit them into little videos with iMovie.

It is all so complicated but I enjoy it. Because I believe I am doing all this for my students, for all the music lovers out there.

I believe that I have learnt all this knowledge and I should share it with people who want to know more but do not have opportunities or channels to. I did not build this site at the beginning to try to find me new students. I just wanted to reach out, to share my knowledge for free, in the spirit of Creative Commons. I did find many wonderful students and I am forever grateful for that.

I did not think it worked at the beginning. I just kept trying. At first, I did not know what to write. And I thought, “Who would want to read my stuff? Who am I anyway? Am I good enough to share?”

I guess I was. Good enough.

About the videos and audios, I put myself out here for people to listen to and watch my playing. I knew I had to make an example for my students. It was embarrassing. I did not think they were that good. But one had to try. Those videos and audios from my students, I do not think they are all that good really. But they are the fruits of my students’ ongoing learning progress. They are not the finishing products. They are just great performance in terms of the effort my students have been putting in.

When I compare the videos from a couple years ago or even just a couple months to now of a particular student, I can see there is much progress in between. That proves my belief that, one has to keep trying, keep learning, keep going on. If you can get it by 1000 hours of practice but you stop at 999, you will never find out how it would be, with the finished product. So, never give up.

Now I have learnt the importance of my voice as equal as my hands (a friend of mine had advised me to buy an insurance for my hands. I didn’t. But was that too much? Not really, as someone had bought one for her bottom, why not hands right?). I have to keep my voice well. She has treated me kind all these years, having her to speak to my students. Without her, I cannot conduct a lesson. I cannot instruct, I cannot sing. I cannot communicate.

I will get better. Otherwise, I will be typing in all these nonsense. And you do not want to keep reading them.

Teresa Wong

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