I grew up in a world where learning to bang out “Fur Elise” on the piano meant you were part of the middle class.
When I became a mother, I assumed my kids would learn to play piano, too. Then, when my son was 6 years old, he used a Toys R Us gift card to buy a three-quarter-sized guitar with a dragon on it. Seeing that he was serious, I signed him up for guitar lessons instead of piano. But his first three weeks were a disaster, and the teacher almost killed my son’s love of music.
The lessons involved my wiggly first-grader watching the grumpy man scribe the notes to “Ode to Joy” in tiny handwriting. There were also stern lectures about posture and the virtues of practicing. I was paying $40 for my son to be miserable for 30 minutes, and that’s no way to learn.
After we switched to 4/4 School of Music in Lynnwood and met Steve Bambrough, misery turned to joy. “I need to tell you ahead of time,” advised the receptionist, “Steve has a lot of tattoos and looks like a rocker. And, he’s excellent with children.”
Excellent with children is an understatement. I have never met an instructor who is more patient with kids. Instead of drilling beginning students with the finger numbers, Steve has them tattooed on his knuckles. Rather than guilt-tripping kids who didn’t practice, Steve will shrug and say, “It sounds like you had a hard week. What do you want to play?”
He has a gentle, encouraging approach to teaching that makes learning fun. Plus, he customizes his methods depending on the student. My daughter, who has dyslexia, takes ukulele lessons from Steve, and I can tell that in every lesson Steve studies what’s working and not working, and modifies his approach so that my daughter is successful.
Each week when I sit in the hallway and listen to my children’s music lessons, I feel grateful that my children are enjoying such a positive…