Trading Tale: Pirates of the Carribean on Piano


I spoke to Ester under the shade of trees at the Aro Valley Fair. We were taking some time out from the crowds after the salsa dancers had dispersed and faded back into the milieu. She began telling me her Trading Tale, about her son Nil and his piano lessons with Victoria...

Ester and her three sons had recently moved to Wellington from Spain. For Ester’s son Nil, the piano teaching trade was a good opportunity to learn how to play the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song and help develop his grasp of the English language. Ester has been a member of the Timebank for a year, and has given Spanish lessons and massages as well as doing gardening and house cleaning. She has enjoyed being a part of the Timebank because it creates a community. As a foreigner, she has found the Timebank a good way to meet people with similar interests. 

Victoria agrees that the Timebank connects people in meaningful ways and helps to share resources sustainably and economically. Victoria has been involved in the Timebank since it began, and she has had help with moving house and learning how to use Wordpress and Excel, as well as receiving fresh gluten-free bread and muesli. She has played the piano at Timebank events and often gives piano lessons to children. She enjoys teaching kids who are really interested in music, kids like Nil!

Victoria answered Ester’s ad for a music teacher for Nil, and enjoyed teaching him because he was very enthusiastic about learning to read music as well as having a creative ear for rhythms. For Nil, after school piano lessons were also an opportunity to learn English one-on-one with Victoria, who was one of the first people Nil had to conduct conversation entirely in English with. Nil could get away with not needing to speak much English at school because he has a Spanish friend there. Victoria and Nil would notate the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song, and Nil’s own musical creations would take flight on paper as she helped notate his freestyle improvisations. Nil has recently become a member of the Wellington Timebank himself, and is now looking to explore more creative pursuits. He is on the lookout for a hip hop dance teacher and Ester would love someone to teach the boys drawing.

Written by Vivienne Askey