This morning, I met a new piano student. She is an exchange student from China--here until December. Her name is Regina and she is 15 years old. She walked into the studio, with her "exchange mom". While the mother and I were discussing, Regina had her eyes and thumb glued to her smart phone--teenager in any culture! As we began, I put the phone out of her reach and had her play for me. She played a few things and as she settled in, her counting became more accurate and she plays rather nicely. The most interesting part of that 30 minutes was communicating with her. She speaks decent English--but not necessarily in musical terms. She knew basic counting and such, but not the English word for, say, fermata or legato. I checked to see what she could read in English--even less. Then I had her write her name in Chinese. She quickly did so. It was fascinating to watch and beautiful to look at when she finished. She brought some music with her, ranging from a "Chinese piece" (her words), to Beethoven (Fur Elise, of course), to David Lanz (Christofori's Dream). Music truly speak any language!
The second interesting event involved a "moving sale", held by a gal in our neighborhood. The sign said, "Name your own price." I drove past just to see what she had. I spotted a bread maker and got out of the car to check it out. There were a few other people mozying around. Someone asked about a price on an item. She said, "Whatever you feel comfortable paying. It's name your own price." A few minutes later, someone else asked for a price. She repeated, "Whatever you feel comfortable paying. It's name your own price." I noticed that one person seemed to be making a purchase, but it also seemed that the others chose not to buy what they were asking her about. I didn't purchase the breadmaker. I wasn't comfortable offering what I was willing to pay, for fear of insulting her by offering too little. I suspect she would have accepted it, but perhaps would have felt short-changed. On the other hand, maybe she would have been fine with my paltry little offer. I just couldn't bring myself to find out.