November 10, 2023 at 3:45 am

A Music Teacher Threatened To Play Their Work In Front Of The Class So Their Student Wrote A Piece They Couldn’t Play

by Matthew Gilligan

Source: Reddit/AITA/Pexels

Are you ready for an awesome story of “Malicious Compliance” from Reddit?

Well, I sure hope so, because this is a good one!

It all started in a music theory class in college.

“I will be playing this in front of the whole class”, lol okay.

“Second semester of my freshman year, I was taking a music theory course. The professor was very serious about her job and this class was a bit of a weed-out class for students who wanted to pursue Music Education (I was taking it for fun).

This student wasn’t exactly getting good vibes from the teacher.

By the time the end of the semester rolled around, I got the feeling she didn’t really like me much because I didn’t pay attention in class but still got As on the homework/exams/playing tests (I’d played piano for a decade by this point), so she couldn’t really punish me for anything since I wasn’t disrupting the class, but was just a thorn in her side through lack of participation (thank god that wasn’t part of our grade).

Our final project was to find a poem we liked and craft a song using the poem as the lyrics. As she passes out the requirement sheet, she announced that she would be playing these for the class, so we need to put in effort so that we don’t feel embarrassed by what she plays in front of everyone (about 30 people).

And so a challenge was presented.

She shoots a glance at me–the least involved student–as she says that, which I took as a challenge. I found a poem called “A Minor Bird” and decided to craft my masterpiece in the key of E-flat minor. The reasoning: 6 of the 7 notes are lowered a half-step.

So it’s not a matter of thinking “everything I see is lowered,” it’s “everything but one note is lowered,” which is fairly hard to keep track of while sight-reading something that utilizes both hands on the piano (we were to hand them in at the beginning of class and she would go through the stack and play them, without practicing first. It’s a freshman-level class. How hard could it be?)

So they took a lot of time getting their piece ready.

I spent weeks working on this because I wanted to make sure it was both well-written and an absolute ***** to play. I had upperclassmen take a look at it to make sure everything was labeled correctly, and they told me I was the most magnificent bastard ever because this prof had irked most of the students in the department who had taken her class.

Then the day comes. We all turn our papers in, and I’m visibly excited by everything. The prof comes in, and goes full Dolores Umbridge–“I certainly hope everyone met the requirements and put care into their work.

And then it was GO time!

If not, we’ll soon find out!”–goes to the piano and pulls the first paper off of the stack, and makes some comments about it that aren’t negative but are a bit goading, regarding the amount of effort it seemed to take to write it. She (apparently) pulls mine up about 2/3 of the way, sits down to play it, and stops at the first chord. She looks around, makes eye contact with me and straight-up glares before regaining her composure and plunking through my piece.

There’s several chords that make a nice crunch before she corrects herself (that NOT-flat note tripped her up every time), and it sounds like whoever wrote this piece did a **** job because of how it sounded.

And the teacher ended up getting put in their place!

At the end, the meek international student–who has Perfect Pitch–raises her hand, and goes “Excuse me, Dr. <Music Instructor>? That piece just played… it has 6 flats in the key, yes?”

Prof: “Yes, it did. I didn’t quite expect that.”

Student: “You..didn’t play all 6 flats, it didn’t sound.”

Prof turns, glares at me, and goes “no, no I did not.”

Got a 97% because she marked a chord label incorrect.

Went back in and showed her that she missed the not-flat note in the chord, and that it was actually labeled correctly; got it changed to a 100%.”

Here’s what people had to say.

One person wishes that this played out a certain way.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This person got a big kick out of this story!

Source: Reddit/AITA

Another individual said this was a win all around.

Source: Reddit/AITA

One Reddit user thinks the teacher did the right thing.

Source: Reddit/AITA

And this individual thinks this was a good job all around by everyone.

Source: Reddit/AITA

I bet that teacher will think twice before doing something like that again.

Nice work!