Navigating the music world when you have Asperger’s

Grace Halloween

There’s a group I’m part of called Frustrated piano teachers and it’s a place where piano teachers can talk about their problems. I glance at it once in a while and most posts are written by women. There’s probably someone who will tell me that women like to talk about their problems more often, but it looks like these women also have to juggle kids and husbands with their piano teaching jobs at home.

I write a post: I am curious… does anyone here have Asperger’s? How does it affect your teaching?

A bunch of people answer the question but not in the way I want. They tell stories about how their husband or kids take a long time to learn or annoy everyone. One teacher describes getting a family or relative involved during the lesson and planning rigorously. I can’t tell if that is for the case if the teacher or student has Asperger’s.

Well, maybe I didn’t ask the question properly.

I give an example: Do you feel like there are challenges in communication because of aspergers? Sometimes I’m finding it hard to interpret social cues such as when a male student apparently is “hitting on me” and it’s obvious to everyone else but not to me.

The response I get is: Definitely.

The thread goes nowhere. This must be what it’s like to talk to me. I misunderstand everything. One person tells me I am being offensive by saying Asperger’s instead of Asperger’s Syndrome Disorder and they know this because their husband has it. She probably has it too, since she thought she was being helpful in the thread.

I send my mentor a text because I am now convinced that there are politics at work that I’m not seeing or understanding and it will bite me in the butt. “I was wondering, could you show or explain to me how to improve my influence? Or better navigate politics? I don’t really understand hints or politics so I would appreciate guidance.”

There is no response. She is at a conference. Ok. Then I remember that every time she needed help or my input, she never asked in text or chat. She always asked to meet in person but made it obvious that it was important. I should have done that instead.


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  • Reply Nate Mazur November 8, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Dear Grace,
    Your posts are at once vulnerable and hilarious.
    While my issues are different (addiction and
    mental health), I relate to your journey to
    communicate with others, especially with those
    who may not share the same issues, but think
    they understand. Hey, maybe they do, who
    am i to judge. Anyway, thanks for your posts

    • Reply Grace Lam November 8, 2019 at 2:59 pm

      Nate, thank you for this. That’s kind of you to say. Glad you enjoy my writing.

  • Reply Anette November 9, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Great read, Grace. Thx for sharing❤️

  • Reply Adam November 10, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Thanks for this Grace, and keep them coming … always enjoy reading your thoughtful and thought-provoking posts and comments.

    • Reply Grace Lam November 10, 2019 at 11:45 am

      Thank you, Adam. You’re so kind. I have been writing more lately. :)

    What do you think?