After a 6-year hiatus, I’ve started teaching piano again. And I’ve been thinking about my own piano teacher. Mrs. Cuthbert took me on as a student when I was 7 and we worked and learned and grew together all the way through to my ARCT, when I was 18. She has been the single most influential music teacher in my life. We spent an hour each week together for 11 years. She watched me grow up. There could be no greater compliment to me about my playing than to hear someone say that I play like Betty Cuthbert. Tall and willowy, she is a woman of understated elegance. I would study her fingers as they curved lovingly and with intention into the keys, always expressive. She wore long sweaters in rich autumn colours with perfectly complementary lipstick, and introduced me to CBC Radio, Jürgen Gothe and Disc Drive. Mrs. Cuthbert taught me so much more than just how to play the piano. I vividly remember the day, after several months of difficult lessons and bouts of stubbornness, that she suggested perhaps it would be a good idea for me to try another teacher. I was stunned. I loved her. I changed my attitude that week. She and Mr. Cuthbert were at our wedding, and I still have the baby blanket that she gave to Julianna. After my teacher’s exam I would go over there for tea. We talked about family, university, teaching, long-distance relationships and life, but I never could bring myself to call her by her first name. She would serve freshly baked muffins with apples and marble cheese. Yesterday afternoon I served exactly the same thing to Aaron and his little buddy Easton. Comfort food. Standing in the middle of my kitchen, I closed my eyes and was back in her kitchen, the sound of CBC radio wafting in from the living room. Only now I’m thirty-six with four children and now I’m someone’s piano teacher. I can only hope to give to my students a fraction of the passion for music, and life, that she gave to me.