How long is 30 minutes?

I am a piano teacher. I considered myself a full-time piano teacher for several years, but after these several years of full-time-piano-teacher-ness, I realized that while I loved teaching piano lessons, it wasn’t what I wanted to do all the time for the rest of my life.

Teaching piano lessons during grad school has been at times stressful and overwhelming, particularly since I always managed to schedule student recitals during finals week (yes, not smart, I know). However, for the vast majority of the time, teaching these lessons has been a breath of fresh air and a fabulous diversion/distraction from the absurdity of academia.

I generally have a very poor sense of time. Without a timekeeping device, I may not be able to tell the difference between 10 minutes or 30 minutes. However, since I’ve mostly taught 30 minute piano lessons for all the years I’ve been teaching, I’ve sort of learned how much piano lesson fits into a 25-30 minute block of time.

Nonetheless, there are some lessons that I teach that are fast and others that I teach that are slow. It’s not always the same students, though I’ve noticed some trends with particular students. I don’t think it’s bad or good, just peculiar and almost always surprising when I look at the clock and it’s not nearly the time I expected.

There are times when I’m teaching a lesson and the next student comes in, and I’m shocked that 30 minutes have passed because the lesson has flown by. And generally, this is the case. However, there have been those few lessons when I’m expecting the next student to arrive and realize there’s still 10 minutes of our lesson remaining… and it’s as though time has stood still. There’s always plenty of things to do in that extra time, but I wish I could identify exactly what it is that makes this happen.

Or if only I could channel that slow time and make it my superpower…

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