A few weeks ago I told one of my young female students that she didn’t have to say “I’m sorry” every time she made a mistake in a piece, or had to start her song over. I told her that as a young girl and later as a young woman, she doesn’t have to say “I’m sorry” for everything—I’d just recently read this op-ed article from the New York Times about women and apologizing so it was on my mind.
She smiled and said, jokingly, “Ok, I’m sorry!” and we went back to the lesson. I told her that at the next lesson, she had to give me a nickel for every time she said “I’m sorry.”
At her next lesson, while she was playing, she made a mistake, and out popped “Sorry!” She promptly whirled around on the piano bench, reached into her shorts pocket, and took out a nickel and handed it to me! (I’d forgotten all about the nickel think—old age.) I laughed and put it on the table. She slipped out a couple more I’m sorry’s and gave me two more nickels.
At our last lesson, mistakes and all, she didn’t apologize once! 🙂