Christine Bemko Kril
News from Eddie’s Mom
Eddie was one of the first neurodiverse children I worked with in my early years of teaching. Eddie had been diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism and his mom was determined to do everything she could to help him grow and thrive. A recent email from Eddie's mom brought back wonderful memories of that time.
We met at a party where she asked me about my work with young beginners and the new material I was using. Then she asked me to work with Eddie on piano. She believed piano could be really helpful to him, especially with concentration, self confidence and follow through on tasks. As a young teacher I was thrilled to have a parent telling me the value of learning to play the piano! 7 year old Eddie was very interested in music and eager to explore. I had just finished the first version of my yet to be published book, and I was excited and somewhat apprehensive about putting it to a test with Eddie. Would it be a good fit?
Eddie started piano at my studio that spring. The new material - which would become the I Can Do It Piano Book - with it’s easy pace and fun songs really worked for him. He learned that the goal was to play each song from beginning to end. He learned the key names and developed finger control and dexterity. Eddie was particularly good at finding patterns and he loved playing songs he could recognize. Soon he was reading notes and playing simple classical pieces. We were both pleased with his success, and we ended up working together for about 7 years. Eddie went on to study Jazz with Mr. Christoph at our school.
Eddie’s mom, previously a School Counselor, now works in administration at the elementary school evaluating children for Special Education.
“I often tell families that I work with at school to use piano lessons with their little ones as it helps them with academics in a roundabout way. I still believe that it helped Eddie.
Not sure if you know that in middle school he got the award for the highest GPA in school. Eddie stayed in special education throughout his school life, but got a very nice trophy from the Principal at his school for being on the honor roll every quarter of school...and of course, we’ll never know if it was from the discipline of all those piano lessons.” (-:
Eddie is now grown, runs marathons and has been working for the past 8 years as the manager’s clerk at a big grocery store. In her email, Eddie’s mom told me how piano had helped him with school and life in general. And she sent me a great picture of the original book!
“I couldn’t resist sending you this pic of one of Eddie’s and my treasures in life….ha, ha, yes we still have it. Lots of great memories!”