At 4:30, every Thursday, she rang the bell. Half the household ran to the door yelling, “Mary-Martha, Mary-Martha!” as she stepped into the hallway, issuing greetings and smiles, radiating warmth like her own little sun.
She usually came straight from dance practice– sweats covering her leotards, her black violin case swinging from her shoulder– and for the next thirty or forty minutes teased and laughed as she infused Xander with her skill and love for the violin. She fixed his posture, drilled his scales, worked his pieces with him; she cheered when he got things right and gently corrected mistakes. It was her wisdom that nudged me to find him a new teacher and eventually his switch to viola.
I’m a big fan of teenage tutors (I’m a big fan of teenagers in general). They are young enough that they remember how hard it is to learn new skills, they understand the disconnect that often occurs between lessons and practicing, but they also have enough experience to proclaim the benefits of doing things right, of creating good habits.
Now, Mary-Martha is in her senior year of college. Lucky for me, she needed dance photos. We laughed our way through this shoot, and I hope I captured a bit of the light Mary-Martha brings to the world. Even more photos here.