The Piano Teacher
A Day in the Life...
I leased a spacious one-bedroom apartment to a seemingly sweet, soft-spoken woman named Madge. She was a retired schoolteacher who told us that she was planning on getting a part-time job nearby to supplement her retirement income. After teaching kids for more than 30 years, Madge was tired of being around what she referred to as “little brats.”
“This apartment will be perfect for me. I plan on putting my piano in the sun-room,” she said.
I expressed concerns about the noise, but she assured me she would be mindful of her neighbors.
Not surprisingly, a couple of months after Madge moved in, I received a call from her downstairs neighbor, complaining about the “racket” coming from above him.
“I’ll talk with her about it,” I told the neighbor. “When I leased her the apartment, she insisted that she’d make sure her piano playing wouldn’t be a problem for anyone.”
There was a brief hesitation on the other end of the line before the guy spoke again, “Look, I don’t want to be a jerk here,” he explained. “I understand she’s a retired schoolteacher. My mom taught preschoolers for years and I know how challenging it must be to survive on a teacher’s retirement. That’s why I’ve waited so long to say anything about the noise, but it’s a real problem.”
I jotted some notes down in the journal I kept as he continued venting. “Like I said, I get that she has to teach piano lessons for extra money. And, it’s not just the noise from the kids stomping around up there, or even the damned piano music—my biggest gripe is that I have to listen to her yelling and screaming at the children. She sounds like a crazy person!”
Surprised that a person who’d struck me as being mild-mannered, could turn into someone so volatile, I remembered how Madge had referred to her former students as “little brats”.
This poor lady must be really fried, I thought, feeling sympathetic towards the older woman and her piano students for having to bear the brunt of her temper.
After we’d hung up, I walked over to see Madge. She was between students and had a moment to talk. The frazzled-looking woman told me she’d been unable to land a suitable part-time, kid-free job so she’d had to resort to teaching piano lessons to children.
She looked extremely miserable when I told her we couldn’t allow her to run a music studio from her apartment—it was just too disruptive.
Seeing the defeated look on her face gave me an idea. “You know, we have a weekend leasing position at one of our sister properties. It’s a senior living community not far from here. I’ll put in a good word for you if you’re interested.”
Happily, Madge ended up getting the gig. She stopped by my office one afternoon to thank me again. “It was the perfect solution for everyone,” she gushed. “I hang around in the evenings sometimes and play the piano in the clubroom for the residents. They just love it!”
Isn’t it great when everything ends up on a positive note?
"From the book "I Have a Complex, but I'm Managing It!" Stories from property managers by Monica Simmons.