The bad student: a story from when I used to teach piano

Photo:  Carbon copy of a receipt directed to the bad student's dad.  Note the misspelling of Mr. Kremer's last name.

Photo:  Carbon copy of a receipt directed to the bad student's dad.  Note the misspelling of Mr. Kremer's last name.

I started teaching piano as a sophomore in high school.  By then, I was going on my seventh year of piano.  Vy Husted, my own teacher, acted as my supervisor.  And I went through a training program.  My parents let me turn part of our rec room into a classroom.  Two pianos and a double sided chalkboard.  This was no joke.

The first year I had a small class.  They had one lesson with their partner.  And one lesson with the entire group.  Each week.

My students were for the most part conscientious.  They wanted to learn to play the piano.  Predictably there was one bad student.

He wasn't disruptive or rude.  He could have learned to play piano if he had wanted to.  But he wanted to be kicking or hitting a ball around outside.  He slouched on his seat.  Never practiced.  And tried to fake his way through the lessons.

My first inclination was to wonder what I was doing wrong.  Why couldn't I motivate him.  Eventually I stopped taking this so personally.  The kid just didn't want to be there.  So his parents and I had a talk.  And we all said goodbye.

Years later, I reconnected with him.

Blake Kremer is mainly a criminal defense lawyer, but also handles personal injury cases.  He's running for the WSBA Board of Governor's 6th district position.

Blake does a lot of pro bono work.  This is my favorite example:

From the time I was a high school student I had a private ambition that I would someday be a lawyer fighting for a peace activist like Sister Anne Montgomery. Sister Anne taught troubled youths at the Street Academy of Albany, travelled internationally with Christian Peacemakers, and brought attention to nuclear weapons through her work with the Plowshares movement. When she and Father Bill Bichsel and several others broke in to Kitsap Naval Base in 2009 to bring attention to the stockpile of weapons there, I served as her team’s attorney, eventually joined by several others for their trial in Federal Court in Tacoma. That is when I began working with Ramsey Clark, a former US Attorney General and now peace activist. I have continued to represent peace activists on a pro bono basis, and occasionally meet with activists at local churches to discuss constitutional rights and arrest procedures.

I hope you vote  between now and May 14, for this bad piano student turned true believer in the power of justice lawyer.  Here is Blake's website: .