Today has marked the beginning of my favorite season as a piano teacher. Halloween has come and gone, and today, oh glorious day that it is, I finally get to start teaching Christmas songs to my piano students. I live for this moment every year and delight in watching small eyes light up as they pick out their favorite Christmas song to begin working on. Then I think of their parents, forced to listen to Jingle Bells banged out on the keys by their six year old, and I cackle happily.
There really is a method to my madness. Traditionally, I’m all about no Christmas songs until after Thanksgiving. But, it makes no sense as a piano teacher. When I’ve had a studio where I could organize recitals, a Christmas recital always had to happen before school let out for the holidays. Given that the last day of school can be anywhere from the 15th to the 20th, waiting until after Thanksgiving doesn’t give the students time to ready a song for the recital. Even over here, with no recital looming thanks to a lack of a place to have one, I still only get two, maybe three, lessons with my students between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s just not enough time to learn a song and have the fun of playing it.
And then there is the evil teacher side. The side that sits quietly all year. The student is late and the parent still expects me to teach a full lesson? The student looks at me and tells me they threw up three times that morning? The parent drops the student off five to ten minutes early and picks them up five to ten minutes late? All the students who don’t practice but still want new songs? The parents who make the mistake of thinking that because they pay me, I work for them? All of this feeds the evil teacher throughout the year.
And then comes the start of November. And she gets her revenge, quietly, sweetly. By sending their precious little cherubs home with a new Christmas song each week.
When do you start listening to Christmas music?