I first met Shaylen in a music class I taught for three- and four-year-olds at a local Montessori School. What immediately struck me about him were the sophisticated questions that he would ask during class. He was quite clear about not accepting answers that did not make sense to him — answering him was a genuine challenge I appreciated.

Several years later, when his parents asked me to teach him piano, I was thrilled. It quickly became apparent that he had perfect pitch, and that he memorized very easily which seemed to be natural gifts, along with spelling and math. He was interested in astronomy and liked Harry Potter.

We have now been working together for about eight years. His family is supportive of his music, upgrading his instrument from electronic keyboard to grand piano. He also has taken up the cello, which he plays in the local orchestra. Shaylen has become very fond of J.S. Bach; when I asked him why, he talked about the patterns that he saw in the music and how they engage and challenge him.

Notice that his feet are supported by a box. I have had several boxes of this kind made in different sizes. These help my students balance, focus, and absorb what they are learning, instead of struggling to get comfortable. I also use foam wedges to help the children sit easily.