In this episode, I want to talk about piano teachers.
Specifically, I want to talk about something that’s been happening recently. I’m not going to go into too many specific details about this, because I don’t want to get sued or anything like that.
This is about radical acceptance. This is about toxic positivity.
So, what do I have against piano teachers? Well, I have a lot against them. You think, little harmless old ladies. What’s the problem? What’s the big deal?
There’s a big deal.
People should be allowed to speak up when there’s a problem, when there’s something they don’t like. When you are suffering, when you are in pain, when you’re unhappy about something, you should be allowed to say something. That’s just how it should be.
And, if the group doesn’t like that, if society doesn’t like it, tough luck. It’s their issue. They should be able to deal with that. Why not?
But, that’s not the way it is. That’s not how we do things here. In our society, you cannot speak up against the group. It’s just not allowed.
So, these people are trying to silence me. I posted something in a group on Facebook, and they banned me from the group. They mocked me a little bit, just to make it very clear how worthless my life is to them.
Then, just kicked me out. No warning, no notice. Just suddenly “wait, I thought there were comments. Weren’t there just notifications a second ago?” And then, gone. Everything’s gone. All record of the group ever having existed, gone. No idea what happened. Did I make up the whole thing? Was it a dream? Who knows.
Well, I know. Of course. I know what’s going on.
Look, they can do whatever they want. It’s their group, whatever. who cares?
This is horrible. Absolutely horrible.
Either you agree with me, or you don’t agree with me. if you don’t agree with me, I don’t care. I don’t want to talk to you about it. I don’t. I don’t even know why you’re listening to this if you don’t agree with me.
So, I’m just assuming you agree. Why not?
This is toxic positivity. It’s more than that, right? This is groupthink. I don’t know.
The thing is, I do know. I know.
Why do I say I don’t know? I say I don’t know because I don’t want to say what’s on my mind. I don’t want to just come out with it. I know that could have potentially more serious consequences, because I know how the rules are. You’re not allowed to complain. If the group thinks something, if there’s a way of thinking that’s just how the group is, as an individual you cannot speak against that. It’s not permitted.
Everybody thinks, “Michael, you’re so confrontational, you’re so negative, you’re so provocative, you’re being so unfair to us, you’re triggering us, you’re being mean to us…”
No, stop for two seconds.
Look what’s actually happening here. all of you think one way. You believe one thing. I, an individual, is showing up and saying something different. And what happens?
Who’s the one with the power here? I have zero power. Nothing. I have this keyboard, I have this microphone. What power do I have? I can’t do anything to you guys. I can’t do anything to anybody.
The only thing I can do is just speak and write. That’s it.
But, they can do anything they want. They are society. They’re a huge group of people.
So, I don’t take their suffering really seriously here. It’s not real suffering. They’re not scared of me. Nothing like that.
I’m just a concept to them. I have no actual power. and yet, at the same time, I’m threatening them. They’re feeling threatened. Okay, that’s how it is.
I don’t want anything to do with this. So I’m going to talk about it. It’s the only power I have. I can just talk about it. I can vent about it. I can whine about it. So, that’s what I’m going to do.
What are they going to do about it? I don’t know. I’m a little afraid of it because I know how crazy they are. I know how really I would have control they are. I know how seriously they take everything.
See, I don’t take it seriously.
I’m going to tell you what I do take seriously. This is a personal issue for me. This is a psychological issue for me. I’m not concerned about anything other than my own issues here.
So, I asked myself, “am I afraid that these people are going to hurt me?”
Now, am I afraid that they’re going to destroy my reputation? Look, I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, sure, destroy my reputation. I don’t need a reputation, okay? My reputation is only something that holds me back.
I would venture to guess that that’s why they’re so bothered by this. I’m threatening their reputation. They cling so tightly to it.
please destroy my reputation. Nothing would make me happier than that. I have no use for that kind of thing. That is just a cage. It’s nothing else.
You know, I didn’t even have a podcast a couple of weeks ago. There was nothing. And now, I do. So, I just created a new reputation, just like that. Out of thin air. Now I’m a podcaster. Okay, great.
Totally new reputation. Born again.
But yeah, that doesn’t work for them, because if I show up and I say, “piano teachers suck”, wouldn’t want to be me in that situation, that’s for sure.
of course, this is just on Facebook. What are they going to do? Are they going to show up at my door with torches and pitchforks? I don’t know. I hope not. I wouldn’t put it past them.
Yeah, that’s not legal. they’re going to get in trouble if they do that. Maybe. Are the police in on it? I don’t know.
I don’t really have a great fear of that happening. I do believe that if they have the opportunity, they would. I do. I think that Jesus was killed by the piano teachers of the day. Let that go on record.
But, They don’t have that power, because we have laws. There are certain protections that I have, Which I guess I’m thankful for. We’ll see if they come in handy. We’ll see.
I’m not too scared of them. The thing that scares me is myself. This is fun for me. This is fun for me. I love torturing these people.
I love torturing them. I don’t love it when they react. I don’t love it when they fight back, when they try to hurt me in return. It’s painful for me.
You’ve got to keep this in mind: I’m a human being. And what I’m experiencing is that the entire society around me is rejecting me. That’s happening.
So, you can say, “well Michael, you’re bringing it on yourself” or “you’re triggering them”, or “you should Have expected this to happen. “
So what? It’s still happening.
I don’t know why people say these things to me. Did you say those to me? are you one of the ones who say that kind of thing to me? If you are, think about why you’re saying it.
So, why do I hate piano teachers so much? Here’s why. This is it. It is a mystery?
The moment they feel threatened, the moment something is threatening something your status, when they don’t know what to do…
They’re living in constant fear, and this is what they do. They lash out like this.
If you’ve ever taken piano lessons, you probably experienced this. Maybe you had a good piano teacher. Great. I’ve had good piano teachers too. Sure.
I’m not talking about them. Come on.
I’m talking about the idiots out there. I’m talking about the vicious, vindictive crazies. That’s who I’m talking about. You guys know who you are. I don’t need to name names here.
Chances are, if you’re getting offended by what I’m saying, and you are a piano teacher, you’re probably one of them. You’re probably one of those people who, I believe, if you have the power, you’d be lynching me right now. I’d be dead right now, because of you and your friends. I’m just going to put that out there. You guys. The ones who are getting offended by what I’m saying.
The one’s who say, “someone’s gotta shut this guy up.”
All I did was say “piano teacher suck.”
What what does that mean? Does that mean anything to you?
It doesn’t mean anything to me. If you said, “all podcasters suck”, OK…? What? Who cares?
If you said “all men suck”…OK…I don’t know. Whatever.
“Everybody named Michael sucks…”
What are you going to say to me that’s going to offend me like that? I don’t care.
“ All Americans suck. “
I don’t care. These are just words, and they’re vacuous. There’s no meaning at all to these words. I don’t understand anything about you if you say something like that to me. I only have questions in my mind. I wonder, “I wonder what he means by that. “That’s it.
I’m not going to try to shut you up before I even know what you’re trying to say. But, that’s what they do.
Well, I’m not going to stand for it.
When you’re sitting in a piano lesson, everything that they say is about how you have to fit the mold, You have to fit exactly into the template that they’re comfortable with.
It’s not the template that they’ve established for you. They don’t have your best interests at heart when they’re teaching piano. They’re not concerned about teaching piano, they’re not concerned about piano, they’re not concerned about music, they’re not concerned about you as an individual.
They don’t care about any of that kind of thing. They’re concerned only about their own reputation, their own status, their own role that they have to play in this tradition, this culture that they are so attached to, that is such an important part of their identity, that makes them feel so safe.
I’m telling you why I don’t like piano teachers, just so you understand that. I can hear the objections already:
“Michael, why do you have to pick on them? Why do you have to be so petty? Why can’t you just live and let live? Just let them do their thing.”
Does it look like I’m stopping them from doing their thing? Are you serious? Is that a serious question? You think I’m not letting them do their thing?
you’ve got to be kidding me.
I’m not even going to entertain that. That line of discussion ends right here.
This has to come out. I’m sick of it.
There was a time when I liked the piano. It was fun. I liked studying it, learning about it, talking about it, figuring things out, talking about it, reading about it, figuring things out, experimenting, practicing, all of that. It was fun.
I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into. Didn’t realize the hornet’s nest that I was provoking. I didn’t realize anything like that.
I thought that if somebody called themselves a “piano teacher,” they’d have some interest in the piano, have some interest in teaching.
They’re bullies. That’s all it is.
I love the language that I’m using here, because I love taking out my aggression on these morons.
At the same time, I’m getting a little bored by it, because I feel the pull to go to the next level somehow. I’m trying to find where that next level is.
I spent a long time in fear of these people, honestly. Not wanting to upset them, trigger them, speak up against them, be rejected by them, be ostracized by them, because I was one of them. I was part of this community.
Boy, that was a mistake.
It wasn’t a mistake. It’s fine. You can call it a “learning experience.”
You should check out Daryl Davis. He’s a black musician who goes to KKK rallies. He befriends members of the Ku Klux Klan. He talks to them, understands their point of view, develops relationships with them.
Many of them have left because of him. They make a connection, and then you see the other person as a human being, and not simply as this “conceptual enemy”. The hate disappears, because this is another human being now.
The only reason we hate other people is that we don’t see them as humans. We see them only conceptually. We see them just as concepts, as ideas that are in opposition to our own ideas. And, we’re so attached to our own ideas, because it makes us feel comfortable.
So, when somebody says something that threatens our ideals, they must be destroyed.
What’s the alternative? We let those ideas be threatened. And, then what? We have no solid ground on which to stand, and that’s threatening. Nobody likes that.
Fine, whatever. But, that’s how it is with these people.
So, I feel like I’m a former KKK member. Like, I was part of that group (not the KKK…don’t be ridiculous). Part of the piano teacher group.
It’s a hate group. That’s what it is. It’s based on hate.
It’s based on hate of the individual, of individual expression, Of individual creativity.
Fundamentally, it’s based on the idea of hating the individual.
I’m talking about classical music here. Classical music. Makes me sick. They should call it sickening music.
I used to like classical music. That’s back when I was into the music. That’s all I knew. I’ve always been an outsider. I didn’t grow up in that environment. I didn’t even really start playing the piano until I was 14. Once I graduated high school, I stopped for a while. I did other stuff for years, then came back to it.
The whole time, I was so naive. I was just interested in the music, that’s it. I didn’t know anything else. It was only about music for me. And other stuff, About practicing, physicality, the movement of the body, All of that stuff was fascinating to me.
I had no idea what was motivating the whole thing, the whole industry, the whole field.
so, you should understand that, because that’s what it is. that’s what the whole thing is. There’s nothing other than that.
You have to be a total loner, if you want to focus just on the music oh, on the piano, on classical music. or any instrument. It’s all the same.
I think pianists might be worse, because piano lessons are such a common thing for kids to do, even kids who don’t care about music. They still take piano lessons. So, piano teachers have this idea that they lost their power. That they should have more power than they do.
Well, that’s a scary thought. Can you imagine if they had more power than they do? I can’t even imagine that. That’s the stuff of nightmares. I am so happy that they are limited in their power. I’m so happy that it’s just a bunch of little old ladies whining on Facebook.
“Oh Michael, that’s sexist! And ageist.”
That’s what they said to me. That’s literally what they said to me.
They don’t care about piano, they don’t care about teaching. They only care about their own status and their own image. What do you care if Michael Korman stereotypes piano teachers as female and old? Like, what? What is with your priorities?
So, here we are. Here I am in a room by myself, talking into a microphone. Maybe somebody will hear this. I can’t talk about this with piano teachers, because they don’t care.
They don’t care. Thousands of them. Tens of thousands of them, in these groups. these are the biggest group that I’ve ever been in on Facebook. somebody asks a question, and hundreds of replies.
Can you imagine asking a question and getting more than 100 answers to your question? Within a few minutes. It’s not like it takes a year to get a hundred replies. 20 minutes. why? Why does that happen?
They take it for granted, I think. They don’t even know there’s anything weird about that.
They join the groups because it’s a continuation of middle school.
They want to impress their friends, impress the teacher, put down their friends so they can have higher status. It’s this “frenemy” thing.
This is toxic.
So, this is what happens when you put Michael in that environment. I can’t play along with that. That’s not going to happen. I can’t speak against it. They’ll kick me out. Or worse. They would do it, I know they would.
They would do it, with a smile on their face.
Do I sound paranoid?
Yeah, I’m paranoid. I’m terrified of these people.
What I’m really terrified about is myself. To me, there’s a void. I love doing this. I love torturing them. I’ll sit there on my phone, typing out a comment. I don’t know what I’m saying. I just let the energy of the moment flow through me, and just type whatever comes out. So it’s fun.
I’m a little bit scared of that, because I know that it’s not fun for them. I know that for them, it’s terrifying.
Or, maybe I could say it’s fun for them to, because if they find murder and Mayhem and destruction and Terror to be fun, then sure, it’s fun.
I don’t find those things to be fun. That’s not something I would ever do, because I don’t take myself that seriously.
So, that’s what I’m afraid of. I’m going to be having fun with them, playing a game with them, and they’re going to be getting more and more upset, and I’m going to continue having more and more fun, and not even realize that they are at the door, with their torches, and with their pitchforks, ready to string me up.
that’s what I’m afraid of.
I’ve been doing an exercise with this. What I’m really afraid of here is the void. I’m afraid of the non – knowing. not knowing what’s going to happen. I’ve never been down this path before and most people don’t go down that path. The path of just responding to what’s in the moment.
But, there’s fear, in those times when I have responded to what’s in the moment, people have gotten really pissed off at me. So, there’s an aversion to that freedom, an aversion to the void, to the non-knowing, to the infinite potential of just allowing the universe to do its thing without interference from me. That’s a little bit scary to me.
See, I’m not scared of them. I’m not really scared of myself. I’m scared of the not knowing.
So, I’ve been challenging myself, as an exercise. Set a timer for 2 minutes. During those two minutes, total free fall. It’s just the energy, it’s just the flow, during that time. Just allow the universe to do its thing, totally. When the timer goes off, I can be scared, hesitant, cautious, whatever.
I’m not trying to do anything other than renegotiating my relationship with the void. Right now, there’s a fear of a little bit of void. Like, When somebody writes a comment and I think I’d like to reply a certain way, then I think, “oh no, I can’t say that.” so that’s quick. 2 seconds. 2 seconds of void is sometimes intolerable for me.
So, let’s see if we can expand that. That’s the direction it has to go in, the direction of just allowing things to happen.
That’s what it is. Things are happening whether I like it or not. That’s the reality of it. The only question is, am I interfering with that? Am I able to accept it?
So, we’ll see where it goes.
I hope to torture them.
I’m sick and tired of my friends too, because they’re not helping me with this. they’re just arguing with me about it. I don’t feel like arguing about this. What I feel like doing is getting it into the flow.
Maybe next time, I’ll talk about how murderous my friends are. I don’t know.
If you’re one of my friends, you can help me with this by…I don’t know. You figure it out. I’m sick and tired of this.
Maybe it’s because I’m an autistic piano teacher, but I don’t pick up on a lot of these social dynamics on facebook. What I’m not liking about being a piano teacher, is having to criticise people for playing things wrong. If a kid sits exams, that’s the mold we have to prepare them for. So it’s our job to get them playing by the book and telling them when they do things wrong. You can jazz it up with friendliness, as I do, or try to find something good about their playing, but essentially it boils down to that. Come to think of it, all education is the same. Most people really aren’t that good at piano and don’t want to do it, so it’s a shit experience for all of us.
I wish there were different methods of teaching but so far there aren’t, so we’re stuck with it.
None of us are Beethoven, even those of us who took to the piano easily, so why pretend?
Western culture has a lot of problems.
I prefer my cat and my veggie garden!
Don’t jazz it up. Make a decision about what your job is and do it. Sounds like you resent your students. Thanks for commenting.